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Innocent Lady Shocks Ton with a Scandalous Affair Involving a Duke

Dear Lovely Readers:

A shocking page of the infamous Madame Bellerose’s journal has crossed our desk. We felt it pertinent to bring this to your attention. It appears an innocent miss of the ton frequents Belle’s daily while her parents are in the country. However, the lady does not spend her time alone. From Madame Belle’s journal, a certain duke has made her his mistress. While the journal entry refers to the lady as ‘Violet’, that is not her true name. Who is this lady and her duke? Which members of the ton have been missing from society? See if you can decipher who our mystery couple may be:

May 1820

I am troubled by what I have done. With my encouragement I have persuaded ‘Violet’ to enter into a relationship of the passionate nature with S. While S has always been a close friend of mine, I worry on how he could destroy her heart. I see the connection between the two and know that this lady as innocent as she may be, is the one to bring him to his knees. The awful row I overheard this morning between them, has brought doubts to the forefront of my mind. However, when I witnessed S leave ‘Violet’s’ room, I saw how she affected him. But I also notice the sadness in Lady S’s ‘Violet’s’ eyes when she hears of S’s search for a bride. I wish she could remove the mask she wears to hide her identity and he could see the beauty that is meant for him. If they cannot share their secrets, then I fear they are doomed. Then it shall be my fault that a powerful duke ruined an innocent lady. Friend or not, we will all be ruined. I will write to Lady W to ask if she can assist me in turning this scandalous rendezvous into a courtship meant for a lady. All I ever wanted was for them to find love, not heartache.

Well readers, can you help me with whom the players in this journal entry may be? Be on the lookout for a missing duke and a lady whose parents are away in the country. From what I can tell, the duke does not know who his mystery lady is.

Whom Shall I Marry… An Earl or A Duke? (Tricking the Scoundrels #2)

An afternoon spent in disguise leads to a passion that …

She wanted to explore the promise of his kiss. He wanted to persuade her to become his mistress. Will a case of mistaken identity lead to a marriage of love?

While trying to prevent her friend from a scandal Sophia Turlington becomes entangled in her own. As she waits for her friend in a brothel, a duke mistakes her for a harlot. When he requests an arrangement, Sophia decides to explore the passion he awakens in her soul. Her only stipulations for the affair are a mask, one week, and he must never discover her true identity. Can Sophia give him her heart and walk away as if their time never affected her?

Alexander Langley’s life as a prominent duke will soon come to an end unless he can acquire a duchess whose family can support him through a scandal. When he meets a violet-eyed temptress that awakens his every desire his search comes to a halt. As they explore their passion, he loses his heart to a woman he can never marry. Will Alex put aside his status in the ton for a love to last a lifetime?

Throughout the season Lady Sophia Turlington and Alexander Langley, the Duke of Sheffield’s dislike for one another is known to all. A chance encounter throws them together as Alex and ‘Violet’. After their time ends, Sophia wants Alex to see her for herself. If not, then she might as well accept her friend’s marriage proposal. Can Alex overcome Sophia’s deceit? Or will his need for revenge destroy the love she holds for him?

Excerpt:

“Love, do you need to return home to your parents?” He kissed her shoulder as he leaned over her.
“Mmm,” Sophia moaned into the pillow.
“Violet?”
Sophia rolled over to regard Alex through her drowsy eyes. Disappointment flooded her when she saw him next to the bed, already dressed and ready to leave for the day.
“I must be off. I will have Belle arrange a carriage for your return home.”
“No bother, I shall reside here this week.”
“How will you explain this arrangement to your family? I do not wish for a scandal, my dear. While I love bedding you, I will not wed you. Do not think to trap me.”
And once again he was the arrogant duke she despised. He only considered himself and not others. Why Sophia loved him was beyond her. Her anger got the best of her as she unleashed her fury at his conceited ego. She pushed him away as she rose from the bed with the sheet wrapped around her body. She spilled her thoughts out loud, ticking them off on her fingers as her voice grew louder.
“First, I will not have to explain this arrangement to my family, because an emergency at the family estate called for my parent’s attention. Second, there will be no scandal involving you or our time together. Third, while I love bedding you also, I do not believe I have even hinted at wanting to be married to an overbearing, egotistical ass such as yourself. Fourth, I have no intention of trapping you into anything but the use of your body for the remainder of the week. Furthermore, let me make myself clear, I am too good for the likes of you. One day a ring shall be placed upon my finger, but only by a man who deserves me, and that man is not you. Now, if you will be so kind, please leave my bedroom now.”
Sophia finished her tirade standing at the door, pulling it open for him to leave. She watched as he stood across the room, glaring at her. Her foot tapped in annoyance the longer he stood there. If he didn’t leave soon, she would rip off her mask to reveal her identity. Then he could deal with who she was and how, if she wanted to trap him, she could. Her father was a powerful man in the ton. If she cried injustice at the hands of the Duke of Sheffield, he would make the duke beg for her hand in marriage.
Sheffield walked over to stand before her, staring at his wild temptress in her fit of anger. He didn’t know whether to be furious with her for addressing him in that tone, or to carry her to the bed and make love to her all day. She riled his emotions on another level. As she stood before him, the sheet slipped from her grasp as she pointed at the door for him to leave. Her tangled hair fell over her shoulders hiding her breasts from his gaze. Her body shook in anger as she continued to glare at him with those dark violet eyes that shot sparks of silver at him. While he would love to stay and turn them into passion, he was already late for an appointment. But he had time to kiss her and show her just how arrogant he was.
He pulled her into his arms and her glare intensified as she dared him to kiss her. He wore the smirk of a man who takes a dare and declares himself the winner.
Sophia knew from his stare that he wanted to ravish her lips and she would be powerless to stop him. Because angry as she was, she still desired him. Sophia wanted him to kiss her, then it would mean he desired her too. However, when his lips lowered to hers, it was the kiss of an apology. Soft. Slow. Gentle. Each brush of his lips against hers asked for forgiveness.

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About Laura A Barnes:

I am the author of The Romancing the Spies Series. When I am not writing, I am spending time with my family. I love reading books on lazy afternoons and late into the night. Anytime really. Married twenty-nine years to the love of my life, we have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides writing, I have always wanted to travel. In the last few years, we have gotten our passports stamped in England, Scotland, and Ireland. We are hoping to add Italy to the list soon. My debut novel is Rescued By the Captain.

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The laird denies it, but the clan hopes

The clan was busy with planting. Even the laird—Niall MacLean was out in the fields. The laird was still healing from the death of his wife and newborn son from a little over a year earlier. Thankfully, he had stopped drowning himself in his cups. That eased the clan’s worries for their laird.

So when a boat arrived on the isle, the whole clan was thrown to the floor when Ermina Bruce pronounced that her and the Laird were married. That news alone was shocking but she was with child. She was so large with child that no one could look beyond her belly to see her beauty.

The clan couldn’t stopped talking about it. No one thought he would marry so quickly then we learned that he was handfasted with the lass to protect her and certain events followed as they do. That sounded like the man I served and stand at his side. The whole MacLean clan was hoping that love bloomed. We all saw that his wife loved him, so that was a good beginning.

Only problem was Ermina Bruce swore she’d die in childbirth. The laird couldn’t survive burying another wife.

Another thing: it seemed that the Laird couldn’t fight against feelings he had deep inside him. He told me they were friends, having grown up from childhood to adulthood together. But I knew differently, and now it was time for Ermina and Niall to learn it.

The Chieftan’s Secret

On a windswept Scottish Isle…

Many objects wash up on the shores of the rugged Isle of Mull. The Laird of Lochbuie never expected a pregnant wife to be included among the items. Honorable Niall MacLean was wed to his childhood love when she died in childbirth. Now a widower, he struggles to get beyond his grief. 

Then his dear friend, Ermina Bruce pleaded for his help. His protective instinct came alive and he handfasted with Ermina to save her from an unsuitable marriage and one drunken night has led to forever after and a possible repeat of his past heartbreak.  

The bonds of friendship…

Noble Ermina Bruce has loved Niall MacLean since he first fostered in her uncle’s home. But he loved another so she settled for the deep bonds of friendship. When Niall save her from that miserable fate, she never thought she would end up in his arms. 

One night of passion…

That one night in Niall’s arms led to her pregnancy. Ermina has not told Niall of their secret baby. But his reaction isn’t her greatest fear. Her fear is even greater than the brave laird’s wrath. Every woman in her family has died in childbirth and all know the same fate awaits her. Once again, Ermina knows Niall is the only one who can save her. And if he fails, her last days shall be with the man she loves. 

Will love have a chance to come alive?

Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chieftains-Secret-Medieval-Scottish-Romance-ebook/dp/B07SD9DKYJ/

The Monster of Montvale Hall and the mysterious American miss

The village of Montvale is atwitter with news of its most notorious resident. The Duke of Montvale, dubbed the Monster for his dark and frightening ways seems to be playing host to a house guest. A young lady!

Though his dashing friend The Marquess of Avondale is no stranger to Montvale, it has been quite unheard of for anyone else to brave the wrath of the Monster and visit the Hall. Yet it seems one such person exists.

One Miss Abigail Langton recently arrived from The Americas has not only visited, but is staying at Montvale Hall.

And if our sources are to be believed, she has turned the place on its ear. The duke too!

Though the servants of the house remain as tight-lipped as they did all those years ago when tragedy struck the Montvale family, Miss Langton has been making her presence known in the village and apparently in the house.

We do wonder if poor Miss Langton knows what she’s let herself in for.

Though perhaps we should be wondering if the duke knows what he’s let himself in for.

We have no doubt that something monumental will come from this unprecedented event.

As for what that could be? Well, we shall just have to wait and see.

The Monster of Montvale Hall Blurb

A childhood tragedy had shaped the life of Robert Forsythe, the Duke of Montvale Hall, forever.

He kept himself isolated from the world and the people in it, revelling in his reputation as a monster.

Locked in a world of guilt and grief, nobody had ever been able to break down the walls he kept around him. Nobody had ever tried.

And if being a monster kept everyone away, then a monster he would be.

Abigail Langton was as headstrong as she was mischievous, so it was no surprise that she wasn’t exactly welcomed at Montvale Hall with open arms.

It didn’t take her long to understand why its owner was called a monster.

It took even less time to realise that monster or not, Abigail’s heart called to him in a way she couldn’t deny or understand.

Robert’s world is turned upside down and inside out by the irrepressible Abigail. And try as he might to avoid it, he finds himself drawn to her in ways he doesn’t want. In ways that scare the wits out of him.

Will Robert give in to the temptation that is Abigail? And will Abigail find the heart of the man beneath the monster?

Find on Amazon

Who is the Intrepid Female Smuggler?

The little Sussex village of Boltwood is in a sorry state indeed—or so I learned during a visit to my mother’s dear friend, Mrs. Ponsonby of Chichester.

I stopped by for tea and found Mrs. Ponsonby already entertaining Lady Ariadne Luttrow, one of the ton’s worst gossips. She never hesitates to tear a character to shreds. Poor Mrs. Ponsonby dislikes backbiting, but she cannot afford to offend the daughter of an earl, so she puts up with Lady Ariadne’s occasional visits.

I, on the other hand, was delighted. As a regular contributor to the Teatime Tattler, I am not in the least averse to listening to gossip, especially the scurrilous sort. After giving Mrs. Ponsonby a sympathetic glance, I prepared to enjoy myself.

“My dears,” Lady Ariadne said, “we are overrun with smugglers.” Her hands fluttered here and there as she spoke. “They have become so bold that one can scarcely sleep at night. Trains of pack ponies pass without hindrance through one’s property. These dreadful criminals even store some of the smuggled brandy in one’s own outbuildings!” She helped herself to one of Mrs. Ponsonby’s delicious drop cakes. I took one in a hurry, for the plate was almost empty.

“Surely,” I said, “your husband can put a stop to that.” Sir William Luttrow is dead set against smuggling—officially, at least, for like everyone on the coast, he gets his brandy from the free traders.

Lady Ariadne took a sip of tea. One restless hand hovered over the last cake on the plate. “Yes, but we are often in London, and meanwhile the servants do their best to aid and abet the smugglers. I suspect that my head groom, a violent sort of man, is actually a member of the gang.” She snatched the cake and devoured it.

“How terrifying!” Mrs. Ponsonby cried.

“The stuff of nightmares,” Lady Ariadne said, but I didn’t believe that for an instant. The smugglers are no threat to her. She was enjoying herself, leading up to something even more shocking.  

She glanced about, as if she feared being overheard, and lowered her voice. “As if that weren’t bad enough, there are rumors that the gang is now led by…a woman!”

“Surely not,” Mrs. Ponsonby bleated, but I rather liked the notion. Women so seldom get to run any sort of enterprise.

“It is a disaster in the making,” Lady Ariadne said with a pout. “This creature, whoever she is, will bring the whole smuggling gang to ruin.”

It was one thing to tell frightening tales to an elderly lady, and another entirely to wax indignant at the possible failure of the local gang. How strange. Why would Lady Ariadne care?

“Surely the arrest of the gang is ‘a consummation devoutly to be wished?’” I asked.

The quotation sailed right over Lady Ariadne’s head, but Mrs. Ponsonby, who adores Shakespeare, said, “Not for the wives and children of the smugglers. It is foolhardy of the men to put their faith in a mere woman.”

What nonsense. “A clever woman is just as capable as a man of running a successful enterprise—legal or illegal,” I said.

Mrs. Ponsonby shook her head. “My dear child, you will never find a husband if you insist on such opinions. We are the weaker sex. Men are naturally superior in every way.”

On this, Mrs. Ponsonby and I will never agree. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to digress, for Lady Ariadne’s conflicting sentiments about the smugglers had aroused my curiosity. However, that talkative lady had already moved to another subject.

“Dear Lord Boltwood, who would have dealt firmly with the smugglers, is not expected to live out the week,” she said.

“Poor Lady Boltwood,” Mrs. Ponsonby said. “She is a close friend of mine.”

“Of mine as well,” Lady Ariadne said soulfully. “She suffers doubly, for while her husband is on his deathbed, her only son, Richard, cavorts in London. If you had heard the tales about him, you would faint on the spot! He’s a dreadful rake and a bitter disappointment to his unfortunate mother.”

With that, we turned to rather more scurrilous gossip. Lady Ariadne moved from drop cakes to macaroons and did her best to shock us, and Mrs. Ponsonby sighed with relief when she finally left.

Well, now. I have met Richard Boltwood. He is a devilishly witty man, and a great favorite with the ladies—and perhaps with females of another sort. But no mother could be disappointed in such a handsome, charming son.

Why, I wondered, does he absent himself from his father’s deathbed? Might there be an estrangement of which society is unaware?

And who is the intrepid female smuggler?

It is clearly my duty to find out.

After escaping the guillotine, Noelle de Vallon takes refuge with her aunt in England. Determined to make her own way, she joins the local smugglers, but when their plans are uncovered, Richard, Lord Boltwood steps out of the shadows to save her. Too bad he’s the last man on earth she ever wanted to see again.

Years ago, Richard Boltwood’s plan to marry Noelle was foiled when his ruthless father shipped him to the Continent to work in espionage. But with the old man at death’s door, Richard returns to England with one final mission: to catch a spy. And Noelle is the prime suspect.

Noelle needs Richard’s help, but how can she ever trust the man who abandoned her? And how can Richard catch the real culprit while protecting the woman who stole his heart and won’t forgive him for breaking hers?

Released today, 24th July. Buy now on Amazon!

Excerpt:

“Open it, my love,” Richard said. “If you don’t like it, the jeweler will allow us to exchange it for something else.”

Slowly, almost reluctantly, Noelle opened the little box. Nestled inside was a delicate necklace of diamonds and sapphires. “It’s beautiful.” She closed the box and returned it to his hand.

“Take it, sweetheart. It will suit you admirably and as befits my wife.”

She sighed. “As I have told you over and over, I will not marry you.”

He tried to drum up his usual lighthearted retort, but fortunately she forestalled him. “I will accept your gift under one condition,” she said.

He managed a smile. “A condition. How delightful! Do tell me.”

Noelle, his darling, the love of his life, said, “Will you take me as your mistress instead?”

About Barbara Monajem

Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Regency mysteries are next on the agenda.

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups. She used to have two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding (because it was too weird to resist) and to succeed at knitting socks. She managed the first (it was dreadful) but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

Deny everything

SPECIAL EDITION

TEATIME TATTLER

            Here at the Tattler, we pride ourselves on fair and truthful reporting. Our main competition, THE MIDNIGHT CRYER, is simply vile and reprehensible in their daily scandalous, not to mention, corrupt articles featuring Lord William, the second son of the Duke of Langham (whom we affectionally call, the Rogue Most Wanted), and his beautiful bride, Lady Theodora Worth, the Countess of Eanruig, a Scottish peeress in her own right.

            To find out the absolute truth, we went to the person who has the most intimate familiarity of the subject, Lady Stella Payne, Lord William’s great-aunt. She has first-hand knowledge of the trials and tribulations these two lovebirds had to scale in order to find true love.

            “Those two would have never been successful in their courtship if it hadn’t been for my dearest friend in the whole world, Lady Edith Manton, and me.”

Here at the Teatime Tattler, we believe her. Her modesty is legendary and so are here baubles. The grand dame’s hands sparkled since practically every inch was covered in priceless jewels. This lady is well-familiar with wedding rituals and courtships. Being married three times certainly gives one a wealth of knowledge about the subject… along with a jewelry box filled to the brim.

We asked Lady Payne how she had advised the handsome couple how to circumvent the malicious and constant rumors that seemed to swirl around them. She offered the following with simple honesty:

Darling, my advice is to deny everything.

Dear readers, is it any wonder that Lady Payne is one of the most successful matrons in London society? With her card skills and social maneuverings, this elegant lady is a genius on how to sidestep and crush the plotting and scheming of THE MIDNIGHT CRYER, the worst gossip rag in all of England.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t add that it stands to reason that Lord William and Lady Eanruig couldn’t help but fall for one another. Not when the grand dame set her peacock blues on making a match between these two.

Perhaps we should offer her an executive editorial position at our humble paper?

Wanted: an engagement of convenience. Found: A noble suitor. 

Raised on a remote Scottish estate by her adoring grandfather, Lady Theodora Worth has inherited an earldom as well as the land itself. But when an upstart duke challenges her claim to the title and the Ladykyrk estate, Thea is suddenly in need of a husband—in name, at least. An elderly neighbor with a thoroughly modern sensibility and a dashing great-nephew just might be the answer to Thea’s prayers. Except she has no intention of marrying the first man she meets. That would be utterly ridiculous.

It just can’t be him. . .

Lord William Cavensham is entirely too devoted to his family’s estate—ever since he was jilted as a lad–to wed, but he agrees to meet the woman his aunt has taken under her wing—and introduce her to possible suitors. But after just one meeting with beautiful, spirited Thea, Will is determined to help her reclaim her title. And even moreso, he can’t stop thinking that perhaps marriage to this bold, passionate woman may be the one thing he’s been missing all along? 


Praise for the Cavensham Heiresses series

“Full-bodied romance…with intelligence and heart.”—New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell

“Sparkling…MacGregor brings England’s Regency era to life.” —Publishers Weekly

Buy links for Rogue Most Wanted: 

Amazon * Books a Million * Kobo * Barnes & Noble * Google Play * iTunes/Apple books

Meet Janna MacGregor

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes the Cavensham Heiresses series where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and a smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pug. She loves to hear from readers.

Visit her at www.JannaMacGregor.com

Twitter: @JannaMacGregor

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

Ladies of Langham Hall Facebook Group: https://bit.ly/2KNEifS

Instagram: @jannamacgregor

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Sign up for her newsletter at www.JannaMacGregor.com

Excerpt from Rogue Most Wanted

“Alright, then.” Thea stood straight and stared into Will’s eyes. “Will you…be my friend?”

The songbirds’ warbles, the rustle of the breeze through the leaves, and every other sound slipped to silence, and all sights faded the moment Thea asked him to be her friend. He couldn’t move as the air grew heavy and locked him in place. All his concentration centered on her. Finally, the spell she wove around him lessoned, and Will tilted his head and stared at the folly’s ceiling.

 Cupids and cherubs frolicked in glee as if laughing at him. For the life of him, as Thea hesitated in asking her question, he’d thought she would propose to him. In those mere moments, his emotions had run the gamut from trepidation, relief, happiness, and finally, to disappointment.

Why he experienced disappointment was a complete and utter conundrum that he couldn’t navigate. They’d both agreed that they didn’t want to marry the other. But something deep within him had sparked to life, like a flint against a piece of steel, igniting a hope she might want him. When Theodora had shared the tragic circumstances of her family’s demise, he’d become lost—in her and the extraordinary challenges she’d faced on her own in Northumberland. It was as if they were physically joined in some manner, and he’d never felt that tied to another woman.

The only explanation could be that he’d never met anyone like her before.

Theodora possessed a refreshing honesty and fierceness at times that belied her underlying vulnerability—much like his own. But the more time he spent with her, the more intrigued he found himself. When she’d approached Aunt Stella with her reason to marry, she’d been brutally honest, and he respected her for that.

Well, he was a Cavensham, and a Cavensham never shirked from duty or tough questions or even simple requests such as friendship. “Thea, I’d be honored to be your friend.” He slowly smiled.

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