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Reckless Accusations

Sam,

Loose lips and reckless accusations ‘ll get us in trouble every time. Best hold off.

I went to the Marquess of Wellbridge’s townhouse as you said, but I couldn’t get past the butler. When I asked after Lord Ethan Alcott, all I got was a cold stare, and “His Lordship is as well as can be,” before the door shut in my face.

Reckless accusations

I set up in the pocket park in the square behind some bushes.  You’ll owe me extra for this one. Cold it was. The watch caught me making a small—really  very small—fire and almost took me in. Anyway, the Earl of Chadbourn, you know—the one with his paws in all the charities for the raggedy parade of veterans being shipped back from the Peninsula—came and went every day. A couple of times I saw two ladies I later figured out were the earl’s sister and—get this!—Lady Georgiana Hayden, daughter of a duke and the sister of the Marble Marquess hisself. Yep. I mean Glenaire. I’m guessing the whole bunch of them’ve made a project of Lord Ethan, that’s what I think.

Monet, Snow at Argenteuil

I tried the nearby pubs and all I got is that the lost sheep had returned. He’d been missing all right, but I couldn’t find anyone who could confirm he deserted after Badajoz. I know your man Baker got wind he disappeared from his unit, but here he is in London as free as you please.

Before you go calling the man a deserter in print, Sam, we need something solid. With a Marquess for a father  and with Glenaire and Chadbourn involved, they’d be able to cover it up, even if it was true and thrash you in the process.
Besides, what if it turns out your boy here was actually a certified hero? Have you thought of that? You don’t want to get on the wrong side of this one, I’m telling you. I’ll sniff around the mews at Lords and Horse Guards but no more freezing my arse in front of Wellbridge House. I’m done with that.

Yers most sincerely, Horace Coffee

Horace is right to tell Clemens to be cautious. Just how Ethan found himself transported with the enlisted men and unidentified remains a mystery. You can bet his father will keep it that way—unless the facts make the son look like a hero.

Watch for Lord Ethan’s Honor in Fire & Frost: a Bluestocking Belles Collection

When a young woman marches into an alley full of homeless former soldiers, Ethan Alcott feels something he thought dead stir to life: his sense of honor. Effort at charity put the chit in danger; someone needs to take her in hand.

Lady Flora Landrum discovers that the mysterious one-armed ruffian she encountered in a back alley is Lord Ethan Alcott, son of the Marquess of Welbrook; her astonishment gives way to determination. As Ethan comes to admire Flora’s courage, perhaps he can reclaim his own.

About the Book

Join The Ladies’ Society For The Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans in their pursuit of justice, charity, and soul-searing romance.

The Napoleonic Wars have left England with wounded warriors, fatherless children, unemployed veterans, and hungry families. The ladies of London, led by the indomitable Duchess of Haverford plot a campaign to feed the hungry, care for the fallen—and bring the neglectful Parliament to heel. They will use any means at their disposal to convince the gentlemen of their choice to assist.

Their campaign involves strategy, persuasion, and a wee bit of fun. Pamphlets are all well and good, but auctioning a lady’s company along with her basket of delicious treats is bound to get more attention. Their efforts fall amid weeks of fog and weather so cold the Thames freezes over and a festive Frost Fair breaks out right on the river. The ladies take to the ice. What could be better for their purposes than a little Fire and Frost?

Celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020 with six interconnected Regency romances from the Bluestocking Belles.

Caroline Warfield is a Belle. You can learn about her and her writing here: https://www.carolinewarfield.com/

A Slightly Scandalous Sighting in Angel Creek

This clipping came to the Tattler offices from a contact in the former colonies.

Dear Miss Decorum of the Angel Creek Gazette:

It has come to my attention that a certain group of impoverished debutantes from the war-torn city of Charleston have arrived in Angel Creek, Montana for the sole purpose of getting married. Of getting married, my friends! As in…the very moment they step off the stagecoach!

Scandalous Sighting
Postkutsche im Winter. Um 1798.

I’ve yet to verify all the details, but it appears they are responding to an advert in a newspaper that a few gentlemen in our town (who will not be named, at the current time) placed in the hopes of finding themselves wives. Now, I know there aren’t many young ladies in our town of a marriageable age, but my lands! To advertise in a public newspaper in order to find a match seems to exhibit a lack of faith in the good Lord’s ability to provide.

What’s worse, I had to witness (with my own aging eyes) one of these lovely young debutantes dis-embark from the stagecoach just this afternoon. Not only was she dressed in tatters, she was traveling alone without a proper companion or chaperone. Oh dear, where are my smelling salts? Just writing about it is giving me another fit of the vapors.

Scandalous Sighting

I did a little investigating and discovered that this young woman is named Miss Elizabeth Byrd. She served as a battlefield nurse during the Great War. Bless her heart! I don’t even want to contemplate the tragic things she’s seen and the horrid places she had to travel while following the drum. However, if she thinks marrying a man (sight unseen) will make her life any easier, well, heavenly days!  I wish the gel the best, I truly do.

At any rate, Miss Byrd was escorted to the church by none other than the retired Army Captain David Pemberton. I can only presume they said their vows and are married by now. Captain Pemberton is a bit of an odd fellow, albeit a handsome devil — just arrived into town a year ago, himself, and pretty much sticks to his lonesome. A quiet, brooding man who, rumor has it, was widowed during the war. Now, I wonder how in tarnation the other young fellows wheedled him into going along with such a scandalous lark as sending for a mail-order bride?

I’ll be keeping my ear bent for any new juicy tidbits about this developing story and report back as soon as I know more.

Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous

About the Book

Can the hope and joy of Christmas light the way for two hearts devastated by war?

Elizabeth Byrd receives an invitation to join her friends in Angel Creek, Montana to become a mail-order bride. At first, the young battlefield nurse is scandalized by the idea of agreeing to marry a man she’s never met, but the war has taken everything from her — her brothers, too many friends to count, and her fiancé. There’s nothing left for her in Charleston but more heartache.

Captain David Pemberton retreats to his hunting lodge in Montana the moment the war is over. He’s looking forward to being alone with the memories of his wife who passed in the early days of the fighting. But the men of Angel Creek don’t see fit to leave a widowed soldier alone during Christmas. Insisting four years is long enough to grieve, they dare him to join them on a holiday venture to acquire wives for them all — a dare he accepts in a weak moment.

He receives the shock of his life at who steps off the stagecoach to claim his hand in marriage.

Available in eBook on Amazon + FREE in Kindle Unlimited at
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XF82LXC
Coming soon to paperback!
 

EXCERPT

So this was Angel Creek.

At least I’ll fit in. Elizabeth glanced ruefully down at her workaday brown dress and the scuffed toes of her boots. Perhaps, wearing the castoffs of her former maid, Lucy, wasn’t the most brilliant idea she’d ever come up with. However, it was the only plan she’d been able to conjure up on such short notice. A young woman traveling alone couldn’t be too careful these days.

With a sigh of resignation, Elizabeth reached down to grasp the handles of her two travel bags that the stage driver had unloaded for her. The rest of her belongings would arrive in the coming days. There’d been too many trunks to bring along by stage. In the meantime, she hoped and prayed she was doing the right thing for her loved ones. At worst, her reluctant decision to leave home meant one less mouth for her mama to feed. At best, she might claw her way back to some modicum of social significance and be in the position to help her family in some way. Some day…

Her hopes in that regard plummeted the second she laid eyes on the two men in the wagon rumbling in her direction. It was a rickety vehicle with no overhead covering. It creaked and groaned with each turn of its wheels, a problem that might have easily been solved with a squirt of oil. Then again, the heavily patched trousers of both men indicated they were as poor as church mice. More than likely, they didn’t possess any extra coin for oil.

Of all the rotten luck! She bit her lower lip. I’m about to marry a man as poor as myself. So much for her hopes of improving her lot in life enough to send money home to Mama and the girls!

The driver slowed his team, a pair of red-brown geldings. They were much lovelier than the rattle-trap they were pulling. “Elizabeth Byrd, I presume?” he inquired in a rich baritone that was neither unpleasant nor overly warm and welcoming.

Her insides froze to a block of ice. This time, it wasn’t because of the frigid northern temperatures. She recognized that face, that voice; and with them, came a flood of heart wrenching emotions.

“You!” she exclaimed. Her travel bags slid from her nerveless fingers to the ground once more. A hand flew to her heart.

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.

Abigail sets her cap!

Lady Prudence Danver carefully watched her sister as she eyed the Lieutenant take a seat at a vacant table inside the Oxford Street Book Palace and Tearooms.

“If you continue stirring your tea as you are, Abigail, it will grow cold before you even take a sip,” Prudence said.

Abigail sighed. “Is he not handsome? What do you suppose he sees in her?”

“Lady Constance?”

“Of course, Lady Constance! Whom else would I be referring to?” Abigail hissed setting down her spoon.

“It hardly matters if the Lieutenant cares for her or not.”

“It does if I would like to be introduced to him,” Abigail huffed. She stole another glance at the man across the room.

Prudence watched her sister give the stranger a smile. His brief nod could only mean nothing good could come from their possible meeting. “Father would hardly allow you to become involved with an officer,” Prudence declared before reaching over to pat her sister’s hand. “He expects us to marry titled gentlemen, or have you forgotten?”

“As if he or Mother would ever let us forget.” Abigail took a sip of her tea. “Did not Lady Constance set her cap on another peer a couple of years ago?”

Prudence heaved a sigh. “Leave it be, Abigail. No good can come of you meddling in Lady Constance’s life nor Lord Osgood’s and you certainly will not be setting your cap on a man you do not know!”

“That is who it was!” Her eyes sparkled in delight. “Surely a Viscount would be more to Lady Constance’s liking.”

Prudence stood and put on her pelisse. “We are done here and leaving, Abigail, before you make a scene and we end up in the Teatime Tattler. Honestly, I would rather be sending tidbits of gossip to Mr. Clemens than be in his column. Now let’s go!”

As Prudence ushered her sister from the tearoom, she saw Lady Constance pushing a cart full of books around the corner of a shelf. Abigail quickly turned as though to return to the lieutenant but Prudence took her arm and pulled her from the shop. The fog quickly enveloped them and Prudence was thankful for the inclement weather. She would need to get her sister home before Abigail made a fool of herself.

The Danver sister’s make a brief appearance in A Second Chance At Love by Sherry Ewing that is one of the novellas in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Fire & Frost. It will release February 4, 2020 and is available for preorder for $0.99.

Viscount Digby Osgood returns to London after a two-year absence, planning to avoid the woman he courted and then left. Surely she has moved on with her life; even married by now. A bit of encouragement from a friend, however, pushes him to seek the lady out. Can she ever forgiven him and give them a second chance at love?

Lady Constance Whittles has only cared for one man in her life. Even after he broke her heart, it remains fixed on him. Another man tries to replace him, but she soon learns she can never feel for him a shadow of what she still feels for Digby. One brief encounter with Digby confirms it; she is more than willing to forgive him. Can they truly take up where they left off?

Charity projects and a Frost Fair on the Thames bring them together, but another stands in their way. Will he tear them apart?

Fire & Frost: A Bluestocking Belles Collection
Release Date: February 4, 2020

Pre-order for $0.99

Join the The Ladies’ Society For The Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veteransin their pursuit of justice, charity, and soul searing romance.

The Napoleonic Wars have left England with wounded warriors, fatherless children, unemployed veterans, and hungry families. The ladies of London, led by the indomitable Duchess of Haverford plot a campaign to feed the hungry, care for the fallen—and bring the neglectful Parliament to heel. They will use any means at their disposal to convince the gentlemen of their choice to assist.

Their campaign involves strategy, persuasion, and a wee bit of fun. Pamphlets are all well and good, but auctioning a lady’s company along with her basket of delicious treats is bound to get more attention. Their efforts fall amid weeks of fog and weather so cold the Thames freezes over and a festive Frost Fair breaks out right on the river. The ladies take to the ice. What could be better for their purposes than a little Fire and Frost? 

Buy links:
Smashwords 
Amazon US

More about Sherry:

Sherry is proud to be one of the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. 

You can learn more about her on the tab above or visit her on one of these social media outlets:

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Lost Letters of Mr. Arthur Pywll

Master Builder James St. George

Dear Readers,

The Tattler is delighted to inform you that we have discovered a treasure trove of documents dating from the year 1282. Today we offer the first in a series of letters to an anonymous friend, which are the correspondence of a highly educated commoner (no common thing in that era). Mr. Arthur Pwyll was the assistant to James St. George, Master Builder for Edward I of England. St. George is famous for building many of the castles that ring Wales and were used by Edward I to defeat the Welsh armies and bring Wales into the protective fold of British rule.

My dear friend,

Yesterday I arrived at Two Hills Keep in southeastern Wales. You will recall that my purpose here is to rebuild and improve the Keep which sustained significant damage from the Welsh who wished to leave no useful items and buildings for our brave Kind Edward. Edward wants nothing but to share England’s protection with Wales. Sadly the Welsh do not see the benefit of bending the knee to England. But I digress.

Upon my arrival at Two Hills Keep, which is in a dire state, I was greated by an angel. Well not really an angel, but a woman who harbors an angelic soul. Lady Genvieve De Sessions is the chatelaine of Two Hills Keep and the wife of Edward’s legendary knight, Sir Haven De Sessions. Sir Haven was seriously wounded in a skirmish with the Welsh. I do not call this a pitched battle, for you and I both know that had such been the case the Welsh would have won no matter how tru and perfect a knight De Sessions may be.

Lady Genvieve greeted me in person and treated me with great courtesy and kindness. She saw me fed, housed me in the guest quarters of the castle, and assigned me a servant to see to all my needs while I am at Two Hills Keep. She did not need to do so. You know I’ve spent many a night in barns and stables, and eaten food fit for swine because most titled owners of castles or keeps regard builders as mere servants. Being uneducated themselves, they have no appreciation of the long years of study and practice necessary to gain the skill of a master builder. King Edward himself, has told me I am very close to Master St. George in the skills of designing and building castles. Hence the reason he sent me to Two Hills Keep when Master St. George was otherwise occupied.

I am very intrigued by the relationship between Lady Genvieve (who is  Welsh by birth) and Sir De Sessions who appears to disdain all things Welsh excpet his wife. Any man would want Lady Genvieve. Her form is the epitome of beauty. Her hair a wild tumble of curls that cascade like sabled fire over the fine, pale column of her neck—a neck that swans would envy. She has eyes that blaze green lightning at the hint of cruelty or injustice. Aphrodite would be jeaolous of Lady Genvieve’s bone structhre, and God created this lady with generous bow-shaped lips. Her entire physical person reflects the kindness and generosity of her soul.

As you can tell I am half in love with the lady. However, to act on any tender feelings for her would be to seal my death. Sir Haven, though he seems blind to his own emotions, is vastly protective of Lady Genie as he calls her. Noblemen and women are incredibly stupid, for it seems they do not know how to recognize love. I am grateful to be a commoner who need not hide from my own feelings.

There is much more to tell about Two Hills Keep and its lord and lady, but the messenger who will carry this missive is about to leave for England. May God bless you and keep you in the palm of his hand until we meet again,

With great affection

Arthur Pwyll

Readers, watch this column for more letters from Mr. Pwyll in the coming months. We will of course bring you the latest current news as it happens.

Blurb: Baron Haven De Sessions knows a hundred reasons to despise the widow Dreyford.  The widow is entirely too independent and a suspected traitor.  Worst of all, she had been married to his best friend—a man Haven arrested for plotting against the king.  Haven believes the treacherous widow should have given up her head, not his childhood friend.  Now an oath to that same friend forces him to protect a woman he does not want and cannot trust.

Genvieve Dreyford has her own reasons to detest De Sessions.  The man is far too handsome, and his reputation as Edward I’s most ‘true and perfect’ knight has swelled the baron’s head.  Worst of all, Gennie believes he betrayed his friendship with her husband to curry favor with the English king.  Now, because of Haven De Sessions, Gennie has lost her home, her title and nearly everything she held dear.  Only for the sake of her family, will Gennie place herself in the power of a man she fears and mistrusts.

Buy Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/True-Perfect-Knight-Chronicles-Tale-ebook/dp/B07YGVC1WX/

Universal Buy Link https://books2read.com/u/38EY0V

About Rue Allyn: Hi, I’m Rue Allyn, I write heart melting romance novels. Books about characters and adventures in which love triumphs at the darkest moment. The kind of hopeful, steal-your-breath romance that melts a reader’s heart. The type of book I like to read. Hope you will too.

Freebie~~Get a FREE download of Rue’s Knight Protector. Just sign up for her newsletter here https://www.rueallyn.com/RUEsNEWSsubscribeKP.

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I Am Crispin

I am Crispin, Chastity Reynolds’ very large, very black cat and, in my humble opinion, central to her story, as you would expect. I am named after the patron saint of shoemakers, which makes sense when you consider my mistress designs ladies’ shoes. However, I have skills of my own. Only my mistress seems to acknowledge my ability to read her moods and identify those lesser creatures with whom she should not willingly associate. I stand guard as any noble cat would.

My life was greatly disrupted when Chastity hauled me off to Brighton to spend the summer with her great-aunt. (Don’t even ask me about the carriage ride from Northampton!) It was in Brighton where I first encountered The Rogue, as Chastity calls him. A man totally unworthy of her. I made clear my dislike for Sir Robert the first time I saw him, hissing and arching my back and placing myself between them, glaring at him with my golden eyes. (I can be quite fierce, you know).

But there came a day, even I had to give the man credit for recognizing my true value. It was the day a viscous dog attacked the fence and quite threw me off my game. I scrambled up a tree as any respectable cat concerned for his safety would. And I had no intention to come down. But my mistress was quite distressed and deigned to allow Sir Robert to assist. He got rid of the menace and carefully retrieved my person from the tree without ruffling my very lustrous fur. Well, after that, I had to give him his due, no matter my mistress called me “Traitor!” and continued to loath the man.

We cats perceive things other miss and I knew my mistress had a fondness for The Rogue. I became rather fond of Sir Robert myself and his very nice boots. I let him know of my new affection by graciously rubbing my body against his boots and meowing loudly. I am certain he was duly impressed as he should be. But still, I feared for the outcome. How could my mistress, a country lass, dubbed The Girl Who Needed Watching, ever hope to win the heart of The Rogue.

Even a spy needs a holiday…

Robert Powell’s work as a spy saves the Cabinet ministers from a gruesome death and wins him accolades from George IV. As a reward, the king grants him a baronetcy and a much-deserved holiday at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton where he thinks to indulge in brandy, cards, good horseflesh and women.

But when Muriel, Dowager Countess of Claremont, learns of Sir Robert’s intended destination, she begs a favor…to watch over an “errant child” who is the grandniece of her good friend living in the resort town. Little does Robbie know that Miss Chastity Reynolds is no child but a beautiful hellion who is seemingly immune to his charms.

Chastity lives in the shadow of her mother and sisters, dark-haired beauties men admire. Her first Season was a failure but, as she will soon come into a family legacy, she has no need to wed. When she first encounters Sir Robert, she dubs him The Rogue, certain he indulges in a profligate lifestyle she wants no part in.

In Brighton, Robbie discovers he is being followed and senses the conspirators who had planned to murder the Cabinet have discovered his identity. Worse, they know the location of Chastity’s residence.   

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