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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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
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
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?
“Open it, my love,”
Richard said. “If you don’t like it, the jeweler will allow us to exchange it
for something else.”
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.
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.
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.
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
romance…with intelligence and heart.”—New York Times bestselling
author Cathy Maxwell
“Sparkling…MacGregor brings England’s Regency era to life.” —Publishers
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.
Thea stood straight and stared into Will’s eyes. “Will you…be my friend?”
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
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
explanation could be that he’d never met anyone like her before.
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
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.
It will be no surprise to you that your grandson, Sir Perran Geoffrey, is once again featured in the street-corner scandal sheets such as that horrid Teatime Tattler. I realize that, living in Cornwall as you do, you like to believe that both situation and distance isolate you from scandal, but as your friend of some years, let me disabuse you of this notion.
It may give some in the drawing rooms of London comfort to think that, simply because the Countess Lieven and the other Patronesses have dubbed Sir Perran and his friends as the “Rogues of St. Just,” those gentlemen now possess the general approval of society.
Just this week I found myself in the position of having to explain to a social-climbing mama that this is not the case. You likely already know that dear Lady Mainwaring is sponsoring her Penrose nieces in their debuts this Season. I can see already that my work will be cut out for me in that quarter, since from your information, the young ladies are already acquainted with the Rogues.
This very evening, I am welcoming a number of select friends
and acquaintances for supper and dancing, and of course have sent Sir Perran
and his friends invitations. Part of the reason for my seeming inconsistency is
that suitable gentlemen are scarce upon the ground this Season. And part, of
course, is that he is your grandson, my dear friend, and I may have news of you
from him. While I myself have not witnessed any questionable behavior on his
part—he is always civil in his dealings with me—I am quite certain that he and
his friends alone could keep the scandalmongers scribbling all Season.
I beg you, dear Ghislaine, to write him a line or two and
urge him to curb his wild inclinations to drink, cards, and ladies such as the
Countess Eaton, with whom his name is linked. It will be difficult for him to
make a good match if he does not. No woman wishes to know for certain that she
is the consolation prize.
About the Book
He is a penniless baronet. She is the wealthy great-granddaughter of a tradesman. Can these childhood friends find their way back to each other when scandal strikes them both?
Sir Perran Geoffrey needs a wealthy
bride to repair his family estate and to bring his sister out in Society. But
what woman with money and standing will accept him as a husband—practically
penniless, his title under a cloud thanks to his ne’er-do-well father, with an
estate far away in Cornwall?
Alwyn Penrose and her two sisters
are in London for their first Season. Imagine their surprise when they meet the
heirs of the neighboring estates—gentlemen whom they are barely allowed to
acknowledge. For to be seen with the Rogues of St. Just means the death of
Except that Alwyn is seen. More
than once. And the gossip spreads all the way to the sacred portals of
Almack’s, which close in her face and end her hopes for a good marriage
The ruin of her Season is Perran
Geoffrey’s fault. And when they are both forced to return to Cornwall, only one
thing is clear: One good ruination deserves another.
Henry’s storytelling is nothing short of brilliant—Regency romance that will
sweep you away.” —Regina Scott
Excerpt from The Rogue to Ruin (Rogues of St. Just
#1) by Charlotte Henry
Hyde Park, London, Spring 1816
Sir Perran Geoffrey pulled up his
horse in such surprise that the sensitive animal danced in the path. “By Jove,”
he exclaimed, “isn’t that the Penrose sisters there, coming in at Lancaster
Captain Griffin Teague, formerly
commander of the sloop of war Artemis,
craned his neck, causing his own horse to sidestep. “Easy, boy.” He patted its
withers. “Where? On a fine day in London there are a thousand young ladies
parading about Hyde Park—how is one to tell one lot from another?”
“There.” Perran inclined his head
three degrees to the northwest. “The landau drawn by the pretty matched bays.
It is certainly the Penrose girls from home—bonnets or not, I recognize their
“There you would be mistaken, old
man,” said the third member of their party. Jago Tremayne had probably never
mistaken a lady in his life. Or a bird, or the contents of a letter, or a hand
of cards. His memory was prodigious—as was his entirely undeserved reputation
as a flirt. “Mrs. Penrose died a handful of years ago. That, I suspect, is her
sister, Lady Mainwaring.”
“Help us.” Griffin did not quite
implore the skies for mercy, but he came close. “Have they come up to London
for the Season?”
There was only one answer. Of
course they had. “You know perfectly well we cannot renew the acquaintance.”
Perran spurred his horse down another path toward the Long Water. “Come!”
“Hold up—we cannot escape it now.”
Griffin raised a hand to stop him. “We have been spotted.”
“So? Better to cut a young lady
than ruin her.”
About the Author
Charlotte Henry is the author of 24 novels published by
Harlequin, Warner, and Hachette, and a dozen more published by Moonshell Books,
Inc., her own independent press. As Charlotte, she writes the Rogues of St.
Just series of classic Regency romances. As Shelley Adina, she writes steampunk
adventure, and as Adina Senft, writes Amish women’s fiction. She holds an MFA
in Writing Popular Fiction, and is currently at work on a PhD in Creative
Writing at Lancaster University in the UK. She won the Romance Writers of
America RITA Award® for Best Inspirational Novel in 2005, and was a finalist in
2006. When she’s not writing, you can find Charlotte sewing historical dresses,
traveling for research, reading, or enjoying the garden with her flock of rescued