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Reunited at last, but can it last?

Can it be TRUE? Has the Viscount Deverall reunited with his long estranged wife? Lady Genevieve is well-known throughout the city for her selfless good work and perfect demeanor (if not for her fashion choices). The tall and graceful viscountess is an inspiration to young women, who are so flighty today, with their insistence on love-matches and their continued passion for French fabrics and styles (despite the fact that we are at WAR with France!). The charity which she operates, the Society for the Improvement of Friendless Children, has announced a large project which will house orphans who currently dwell in the city’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, beset with crime and sin! 

            Lord Cameron, Viscount Deverall, is well-known for very different reasons, not least of which is his devastatingly handsome appearance and keen sense of style (even Brumell has offered praise!). However, his most famous exploits are too shocking for this news column to put into words. In order to spare the delicate constitutions of ladies who may be reading, I will not even hint of them. 

            For those unaware of the rumors (though they are more than rumors! No fewer than thirty members of the ton have confirmed what they saw that night!), Deverall embarrassed the new viscountess soon after their wedding in a most scandalous way (a mere three weeks into their marriage! And who WAS the unknown woman also seen that night?). Following the public transgression of a lord who should know better, the couple has not been seen together for nearly three years, and Deverall lives exclusively in his rented rooms near St. James Street. But perhaps things have changed!

            Last week, the viscount moved back into the townhouse where his viscountess has been keeping residence and maintaining the honor of her family’s name during the many years her husband has avoided all the duties of his role and title to instead dally with gamblers and the wort sort of characters. What lord puts pleasure above duty to such degree? To date, there is no heir (nor spare) to Deverall’s title! 

            What mysterious event could have occurred to cause Lady Genevieve to allow Lord Deverall back into their home? What silver lies did the admittedly charming lord spin to convince his wife to tolerate his presence? 

            If this couple can reconcile, all things may be possible. Perhaps the authorities can even capture the Black Mask, the criminal mastermind who has stolen thousands of pounds of jewelry from all over the city (not to mention a few ladies’ hearts!) And to think, I once feared the end of the Season would mean London would grow sleepy and dull!

            Even in the countryside, the potential for news beckons. It has been reported that the family of Lucien Bonaparte has purchased a grand estate in Worcestershire, where they will take up residence (still well guarded by the British army, for the estate and the nearby town represent the limit of the Bonaparte’s parole.).

            Any one of these situations may blossom into a real story. Indeed, this summer may be a season of revelations! Dear readers, I will deliver any scrap of knowledge that comes my way. 

Yours faithfully, 

Verity Truetale

Book Excerpt:

(From A Most Relentless Gentleman)

            The Season was nearly over. Summer was about to begin her reign over the city, though the warm air had not yet brought out the terrible stench of the Thames that would emerge in a few weeks. Now it was actually pleasant, the air soft and the evening light of the sky filtering through newly leafy trees. 
            As he got closer to his destination, Cameron opened the letter again. Three years of nothing, and now this. In the solitude of the carriage, he allowed himself to speculate. Was it possible Genevieve was as sick of this separation as he was? Or was her family applying some pressure to live up to expectations?
            The carriage clattered to a halt in front of a familiar house. A golden glow seeped from all the lower windows. As he strode up the walk, he heard the faint sounds of laughter and talk. Gen was entertaining. He was vaguely annoyed at the idea of her happily toasting guests after she penned a letter implying that the sky was falling.
            He knocked once, also annoyed by that. A man shouldn’t have to knock on his own front door.
            The door opened. The mouth of the maid also opened as she stared at him in shock.
            Cameron stepped inside. “Where is my wife?”
            “In the dining room…my lord,” the maid squeaked out. “Shall I…shall I announce you?”
            “Who else is in the dining room?”
            “The whole board of the Society for the Improvement of Friendless Children, my lord. And their spouses.”
            Cameron curled his lip in disdain. “Just tell her I’m waiting in her study.”
            The maid nodded, finally regaining her composure. “Yes, my lord.”
            Cameron showed himself into the study. He looked at the expansive walnut desk, the surface covered with documents and ledgers. On the wall hung several framed charcoal drawings of no artistic merit. Children could have done better, he thought, before realizing that children probably were the artists and these were gifts to their greatest patron. 
            He leaned toward one, a crude rendering of Genevieve herself. Despite the rough medium and the scant talent of the creator, something of Genevieve was in that drawing. The remarkable height, the dark hair, the direct gaze of the avenging angel.
            “What are you doing here?”
            At the sound of the voice, Cameron turned to the door, where the real Genevieve stood. The drawing faded into nothing. There she was. Tall, slender, with the dark hair curled and pinned atop her head with only a silk ribbon as an adornment—she needed no other. He took in the rest of her in a glance, and then had to do more than glance, because her gown demanded it. The neckline dipped enticingly low, treating him to an expanse of soft skin that no one but him should ever see. 
            And yet. Here she was, evidently thinking she looked perfectly acceptable to appear before the gaze of the entire board of the Society for the Improvement of Friendless Breasts.
            “I asked you a question, my lord.” Genevieve crossed her arms. He saw her left hand as she wrapped it around her elbow. No ring. He added another item to the list of things that were annoying him, along with the fact that his breeches were suddenly a little too tight.
            Cameron had to say something. 
            “Genevieve.”
            He probably should have said something wittier than that. 
            She narrowed her eyes. “Why. Are. You. Here?”

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Will the orphan thaw her frozen heart?

Ophelia Breckensole linked her elbow with her twin’s as they sauntered into the parlor. “Gabriella, did you see the way the Duke of Sheffield looked at Everleigh last evening?”

“Indeed. Like a man completely awestruck.I didn’t think he was capable of any expression except a scowl.” Chuckling, Gabriella sat on the brocade settee. One finger on her chin, she cocked her  head. “And for once, our dear cousin didn’t turn her frigid glance on another befuddled swain.” Brow arched, she gave a sage nod. “That’s very telling, dearest.”

“It was the child, you know.” Ophelia settled on the cushion beside her sister, pushing a ridiculously frilly pillow aside as she made herself comfortable. “The moment Everleigh picked the little imp up and the child stopped wailing, I could tell she was smitten.”

“Sheffield could too. I had no idea he’d adopted an orphan—one from India, no less,” Gabriella said as she poured their tea.

Setting the silver teapot down, she considered Everleigh beyond the diamond-paned windows. She strolled the lawns with the duke’s ward toddling along beside her, their hands clasped. A moment later, his grace ambled into view.

“I wonder…” Gabriella pulled her brows together in thoughtful contemplation.

Ophelia followed the direction of her sister’s focus. “We could help them along. They’ll both be here for the house party’s duration.”

Gabriella sighed and shook her head. “Everleigh would never permit it. I believe she’s truly sworn off men.” She pressed her mouth into a tense line. “’Tis no wonder, considering the vile creature she was forced to marry. I doubt anyone shed a tear when he met his violent end. I know Everleigh didn’t.”

“True, but she’s still young, and just look how magnificent she is with the little darling.” Ophelia dropped two lumps of sugar into her cup. Slowly stirring her tea, she murmured, “She so wanted children of her own.” She stopped stirring and pulled her spine straight.

Everleigh was laughing at something the duke said. Actually laughing.

And the duke?

Well, he looked about to gobble up their beautiful cousin.

“Gabriella?”

“Yes?” Her twin pulled her attention back inside the cozy parlor.

Angling her head toward the frost outlined windows, Ophelia permitted a self-satisfied smile. “What if we drop a hint or two or three in the duke’s ear on the best way to woo our cousin?”

A December with a Duke

Seductive Scoundrels Book 3

He’s entirely the wrong sort of man. That’s what makes him so utterly right.


After a horrific marriage, widow Everleigh Chatterton is cynical and leery of men. She rarely ventures into society, and when she must, she barely speaks to them. Her one regret for refusing to marry again is that she’ll never bear children. As a favor to a friend, she reluctantly agrees to attend a Christmas house-party. Unfortunately, Griffin, Duke of Sheffield is also in attendance. Even though Everleigh has previously snubbed him, she can’t deny her attraction to the confident, darkly handsome duke.


For almost a year, Griffin has searched for the perfect duchess to help care for the orphan he’s taken on. He sets his sights on the exquisite, but unapproachable widow after her sweet interactions with the child impress him. Everleigh vows she’s not interested in him or any other man. But Griffin is convinced he can thaw her icy exterior and free the warm, passionate woman lurking behind the arctic facade. Only, as he pursues her, it’s his heart that’s transformed.


Can Everleigh learn to trust and love again? Will Griffin get his Christmas wish and make her his bride? Or, has he underestimated her wounds and fears and be forced to let her go? 

Excerpt

For the second time that night, Everleigh stopped on the last riser.

 He truly didn’t know?

“Yes, my daughter, Meredith.”

She touched the locket again. A lock of wispy, thistle-down soft white hair lay tucked inside. Struggling to wrestle her grief into submission, she focused on the long case clock’s pendulum swinging back and forth.

She paced her breathing with the slow tick-tock for a handful of rhythmic beats.

Did a parent ever recover from the loss of a child?

No. Life just took on a new reality. 

“Tomorrow is the three-year anniversary of her death.”

Why had she shared that?

The Duke of Sheffield did the most startling, the most perfect thing in all the world.

He drew her into his arms and held her. He didn’t offer condolences or advice. He didn’t try to change the subject or pretend he hadn’t heard her at all.

He simply offered her comfort, and it felt so utterly splendid, just allowing someone to hold her. Someone who permitted her to show her grief for a child conceived in the worst sort of violation and violence, but who had been adored nevertheless.

For this brief interlude, Everleigh didn’t have to be strong. Didn’t have to maintain her frigid façade, and it was wonderful to be herself. That almost brought her to tears as well.

What was more astonishing was she wasn’t afraid of his touch.

How long had it been since she didn’t flinch when a man touched her?

They stood chest to chest and thigh to thigh in intimate silence for several moments until the clocked chimed the quarter hour, interrupting the tranquility. They really must join the others for dinner, or God only knew what sort of unsavory tattle might arise.

“Thank you for your kindness, Your Grace.”

She disengaged herself, more aware of him as a man than she’d any business being.

He simply nodded, though the amber starburst in his eyes glowed with a warmth she couldn’t identify.

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An Invitation to Holiday Revels

An invitation addressed to His Grace, the Duke of Harlowe, has found its way into our newsroom. It appears that Gertrude Marsden, Countess of Marsden may have sent several letters of this ilk regarding revels at her country house.  The lady, if we may call her that, is quite bold in her expression in this one. We at the Teatime Tattler believe it will be of interest to our readers, who may wish to be warned about the countess’s nature before they accept.

December 1, 1815

Your Grace~

Now that we’ve sent that rascal Bony to the far reaches of St. Helena, I’m ready for festivities for the Season! I hope you are also.

To marry off my darling nieces, I’ve invited my fondest friends to my Christmas house party on the North Steyne in Brighton from December 21 through December 28. Twenty-six will lodge in the house. More than one hundred also have responded they’ll attend my annual ball Christmas night. At least half of them are eligible men. And should you accept my invitation—which of course this is—you will be numbered among them.

I do hope you will attend us here for the duration! I’ve planned the usual diversions. Greenery gathering, though we do not wish to prick our fingers! Cards and dice, though I will ensure my darling Marjorie does not pick your pocket too deeply! Charades. Do plan to partner me in that game as—perhaps—Romeo and Juliet? Elizabeth and Darcy?

I know it has been five long months since we “played” at anything together. However, I do presume to invite you to join me during this gathering. I need a partner. You.

Yes. You see I am quite frank!

Why?

First and foremost, my step-son, Colonel Lord Marsden, remains with Wellington in Paris. While I wish for his return—especially to do what his heart commands and woo my niece Marjorie—I have no final word from him that the Duke will permit him leave of absence.

Secondly, but not less important, I must declare once and for all, Your Grace, I need you here with me. For Christmas, I wish you close.

I can imagine your marvelous blue eyes wide, your grey brows arched high, with surprise at my declaration of desire. But I am compelled. Driven. Indeed, needy, Your Grace. Needy!

No, I have not written you since I left you in that quaint little hotel room that afternoon in Margate in August. I wished to contemplate what we did there. And I’ve concluded that what I felt then for you, Your Grace, was a passion as hot, an affection as radiant as the summer sun. I feel it still each time I recall us as we lounged like libertines on the terrace naked while the sea crashed upon the shore and took our breaths in such raptures.

I do confess that since I left you that afternoon I’ve been atwitter, hoping against hope you might favor me by calling upon me. Alas, you have not. But I excuse you readily. Of course I do. I put your reluctance down to your desire to conclude your year of mourning for your wife. That formal period ended last week.

After much thought on the matter, I can understand other reasons why you’ve not approached me. You were shocked by your quick affections. I was surprised by my own. After all, it had been five years since last we met…and enjoyed the varied rewards of our mutual affections. Five years ago, those were of conversation and the recognition of like minds. Our Margate encounter was the rekindling of those sparks which previously we dared not fan. Yet I will declare our interlude was a unique rapture. If my heart palpitated with exquisite delights that afternoon we spent in the throes of madness, my mind since then has relived a thousand times the ecstasy we shared.

Might you not come to my party? Might we not rekindle the flames of a glorious afternoon rolling as God made us upon those downy linen sheets?

Yes, you may call me bold. Yes, you may refuse me a response.

But I ask you, Your Grace, is not life for the living?

My husband has long since departed this world.

Your wife, gone less time, but nonetheless not of this world.

My step-son is grown. A man about to take a wife. My other responsibilities of my dearly departed sister’s three daughters will soon cease as they go to their own marriage beds. My days spread before me and I wish for another marvelous taste of true love before I grow too mature to revel in its physical pleasures…and its ethereal rewards.

Won’t you join me and my guests for Christmas?

Let us hail Christmas with reverence. Hail my nieces’ and my step-son’s engagements with joy. And ring in the New Year, just you and I alone in a cocoon of our mutual desires for romance, love and conjugal unity.

Darling Winston, let us not to the marriage of true minds find impediments. We are too old to worry that children may object. Would yours dare? They married for love. We two are also free, unburdened by family responsibilities. Your three are married and prospering. Mine soon will be, too. We both are too established among the ton to care that you are a duke, widowered, and I, a widowed countess who has slept alone for more years than I care to recall.

May we not, my dear, revel in the Season and in each other?

I long to kiss you and invite you to cavort with me!

Let this be a happy Christmas! Come to my party! We’ve much to enjoy!

                                             Yours affectionately,
                                                      Gertrude

About the Books

The Countess of Marsden invites you to her house party! Seven nights and days of frolic, gossip, dancing…and match-making for her three nieces.
Sad, isn’t it, that none of the Craymore sisters wishes to wed?
Exciting, isn’t it, that three war heroes arrive who know precisely what they want for Christmas?
Wonderful, isn’t it, that each might gain the most precious Christmas gift of all?

Find them here:

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0089DS2N2

 About the Author

Cerise DeLand loves to cook, hates to dust, lives to travel, read and write!

She pens #1 Bestselling Regencies and Victorians known for their spice, historical accuracy and eloquence! With awards on her shelves for more than 60 romances, she’s written for Pocket, St. Martin’s and Kensington. She likes awards…and wine at 5 p.m.

Find Cerise:

Cerise DeLand’s Website www.cerisedeland.com

Cerise DeLand’s Delicious Doings Blog: http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Asking For A Friend…

Dear Mr Clemens,

I have a friend who is at her wits end and doesn’t know what to do, but she enjoys your newspaper even if she can only read it very slowly and has seen you have offered your sage advice to many others before her. I shan’t tell you her name because the situation is very delicate, and she is likely very soon to become engaged to a Duke, so I must preserve her good reputation.

asking for a friendI say likely, because the whole ton expects the announcement eagerly, and they have done for over a year. I cannot imagine why he is dragging his feet because my friend is considered very beautiful and charming. Yet not only has he failed to ask her, he’s also never bothered trying to steal a kiss either which is very odd. Especially as she’s lauded as an incomparable and had men queuing for her hand before the duke came along.

In truth, he rather scared everyone else off and I had my head turned… I mean my friend did. Who wouldn’t want to marry a duke? Even if this one is a little dull and pads his jackets… only talks about himself…

But I digress, because whilst my friend has been doing absolutely everything in her power- short of smacking him across his arrogant head with her fan to chivvy him into a proposal- there has been another complication.

An unforeseen, unexpected and utterly thrilling complication.

She’s met another man and is inexplicably drawn to him. He’s not noble- not by any chalk- but he is kind and handsome, painfully shy and most definitely does not need to pad out his jacket! I know this because I accidentally encountered him stripped to the waist at my sister’s house a few months ago and I have been entirely unable to dismiss the scandalously magnificent picture of his manly body from my mind.

And he’s a spy! On an important government mission. A secret he entrusted only to me… I mean my friend… when she recognized him pretending to be someone else. Now she is helping him navigate the murky waters of society, a place he feels very uncomfortable within, and in return he is going to make my, er, the duke jealous to hasten the anticipated engagement. Which is marvellous, I suppose, although I’m not entirely sure I want things sped along now that I’ve met Seb… I mean since she met him.

What should my friend do?

Yours sincerely

Befuddled of Berkeley Square

About the Book, The Mysterious Lord Millcroft

Life as a duchess… Or something much more dangerous…?

Constantly told her beauty and charm is all she has to offer, Lady Clarissa is intent on marrying a duke. And intriguing spy Sebastian Leatham will help her! Only first she’ll assist him with his new assignment—playing the part of confident aristocrat Lord Millcroft. Sebastian awakens a burning desire within Clarissa which leaves her questioning whether becoming a duchess is what she truly longs for…
Purchase on Amazon

About the Author

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. But it still takes her ages to fall asleep.

Website: https://www.virginiaheathromance.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/virginiaheathauthor/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VirginiaHeath_

 

Scandalous visitors? Or scandalous viscount?

Capital Journal, Fiction Section, Friday, February the First

A rumor currently circulates among the gentry in The Grand City that the white/blond Viscount of F had a visitor one recent morning, or rather, visitors, as the woman who claimed to be his wife brought with her a pair of identical offspring closely resembling the earl himself.  Piercing blue eyes and straight white hair adorned both cherubs whose mother was blessed with the dark hair of her pure Spanish ancestors.

Not believing the woman, or his own eyes it seems, The Viscount of F shooed the little family from his noble steps and into the halls of a certain hotel where they have taken up residence until a higher authority might be able to hear their tale.

It was also rumored that the mistress of Viscount of F has moved out of his grasp as she deemed it unwise to associate with a man who possesses untrustworthy…eyes.

Stay tuned to see if the current fiancée of this poor-sighted creature is also saved from his company.         –The Scarlet Plumiere

If he unmasks her, she’s as good as dead…

Blood for Ink, Book 1 of the Scarlet Plumiere series

As the mysterious writer who exposes gentlemen’s secrets, it is not the first time The Scarlet Plumiere has been hunted. But this time it’s different. This time, she interferes with one of the Four Kings, and the brotherhood will not rest until they marry her off and place her securely under a man’s thumb. Only they have to catch her first.

The Earl of Northwick is falling for this writer, sight unseen. Will she be pretty? Will she have all her teeth? In his rush to claim her for himself, regardless of who she might ultimately be, he places her in grave danger—her desperate enemies are watching closely for the moment her mask is removed.

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0083UCPNO

This is a five book series that continues with Bones for Bread, Body and Soul, Breathe of Laughter (Nov. 2018) and Beat of my Heart (December 2018).

L.L. Muir lives in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains and writes fiction between bowls of cereal.

Before writing full-time, she owned a flower shop called The Scottish Rose. She’d often answer the phone sounding like Mrs. Doubtfire…until a gentleman customer asked to speak with the Scottish woman who owned the place. A little embarrassing, that.

You can sign up for her new release alerts on her website at http://www.llmuir.weebly.com. Follow her on Bookbub, Amazon, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Fictionbyllmuir

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