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Category: Teatime Tattler (Page 2 of 56)

The Tattler Interviews Lady Aisla MacKai from A Wish For All Seasons by Rue Allyn in the Bluestocking Belles’ holiday collections, Follow Your Star Home

Greetings friends and readers. Lady Aisla MacKai is among the most fascinating men and women of fiction that The Tattler has been privileged to meet in recent memory. The basic facts concerning the lady are these: She claims to be more than twenty years old, but refuses to be more specific. I got quite the tongue lashing from her when I pressed her on the matter. She was born, and lived her entire life at Dungarob Keep, the ancestral home of the MacKai clan and the Barons who led them. She is black-haired, fair-skinned, gray-eyed, and (as Caibre MacFearann her fiancé told me), as fair a lass as ever graced the highlands. I must agree that his charming and challenging young woman is a most pleasant sight to behold. With that introduction, let us commence Lady Aisla MacKai’s interview.

TT: “I understand you recently became engaged.”

AM: “Aye.”

TT: “Could you tell us about your fiancé and how your engagement came about?”

: “Well Caibre MacFearann is the most exasperatin’ mon a female could ever meet. He’s handsome as the devil and knows it. I dinna wish t’ become engaged at all, especially to Caibre given our mutual past. But you might say my hand was forced.”

TT: “You mean he compromised you?” (I asked this with some trepidation. The Tattler has a reputation for discretion, but also for truth. I want our readers to know exactly what circumstances forced Lady Aisla’s hand to marriage.)

AM: “Nothing of the kind, sir. What sort of woman do you think I am?”

TT: “My humble apologies, Lady Aisla, I believe you to be a most honorable woman, but you must admit that a statement such as ‘my hand was forced,’ leads most minds to the inevitable conclusion that you were compromised. To clear the air for our friends and readers, please explain what you meant.”

AM: “Well, y’ see. Several years ago, my brother, Baron Steafan MacKai embarked on a journey to the east indies in order to gain funds badly needed to repair Dungarob Keep and the barony’s holdings. He’d recently wed and sent his wife back to Dungarob in his stead. However, one thing led to another and she decided to return to her family in Boston. That left me in charge of keep and clan. I did my best to hold things together, even after my brother went missing at sea. His wife, a woman unknowledgeable of British law, petitioned Queen Victoria to have Steafan declared legally dead. That Bostonian wished to marry another mon. With my brother dead and no legal heirs, the barony would revert to the crown.”

TT: “But doesn’t Scottish law recognize women as legitimate heirs?”

AM:” That’s the short way of putting it. But Scotland’s law does’na pertain. Centuries ago one of our ancestors pledged fealty to the English crown in order to protect the keep and the clan. Since then, Dungarob has been subject directly to English law.”

TT: “You have my sympathy. That must be a difficult circumstance for a true Scot to handle.”

AM: “It is, sir, It is indeed.”

TT: “What did you do?”

AM: “What could I do? I wrote to Queen Victoria, and begged her as a woman who understood love of country and the great loss of a beloved man. Albeit she lost a husband, and I only a brother. Nonetheless the loss of any loved one is great.”

TT: (By now I’m sitting on the edge of my chair wondering how all of this forced Lady Aisla to affiance herself to Caibre MacFearann—a second son by the way of an infamous family. But the MacFearann legend is a story for another day.) “Did Her Majesty reply to your letter?”

AM: “That she did, in her own hand. She had all sympathy for my loss, but would not overturn the law for any reason. She would allow Dungarob Keep to stay within the MacKai family however, if within six months I wed a mon willing to take the MacKai name and title. Evidently there is legal precedent for that.”

TT: “I understand now. A title must have been a great inducement to a second son, especially when accompanied by your lovely self.” (Lady Aisla sits opposite me blushing whether from my poor attempt at a compliment or anger over the implication that a title is needed before a man would wed her, I cannot tell.).

AM: “I would be furious at your implication—intended or not—did a title hold any interest for Caibre.”

TT: “You mean he doesn’t care about the title?”

AM: “He says he does’na. As proof he reminded me that he left Scotland years ago to escape the burdens of nobility and his family reputation. He’s been ranching in Wyoming. Making a fortune he claims. He only returned to Scotland when his father passed away.”

TT: “So you discovered he’d returned and wrote to him for help?”

AM: “. I was at my wit’s end when an early November blizzard brought him to my door along with my missing brother.”

TT: “ I don’t understand. If your brother isn’t truly dead why must you wed MacFearann?”

AM: “Because the legal wheels of Britain turn very slowly. It might take years for my brother’s petition to be legally resurrected and reinstated as Baron MacKai could be granted. We had only six months to satisfy the queen’s requirements. It was marry Caibre MacFearann, who happened to be handy and willing, or lose everything.”

TT: “It does indeed seem that you and your brother were in desperate case. Mr. MacFearann is willing to give up the title once your brother’s petition is approved?”

AM: “Aye.”

TT: “And after that will you return with him to Wyoming?” (Lady Aisla looks everywhere about the room, even to the extent of studying her nails to avoid my gaze.)

AM: “He has’na asked me.”

TT: “Surely as his wife . . .?”

AM: “Caibre MacFearann is a difficult mon and beyond understanding.”

TT: (She rises and with hands fisted stares defiance at me.)

AM: “I’ve said entirely too much. In fact, I should never have agreed to this interview. Good day, sir.”

TT: She grabs her reticule and departs before I can soothe any ruffled feathers. I’ll be honest, I’m not quite certain what I did to set her off so. If any of you readers would like to help me understand, please address a comment to Mr. S. Clemens, care of The TeaTime Tattler.

*A note for our readers. Shortly after The Bluestocking Belles announced the future release of Follow Your Star Home, a storm of protest erupted from those who protested that the book was too scandalous to read. Supporters of the Belles, responded in strength and numbers. The Tattler, in fairness, published all communications received on the subject. The book has now been released to great reviews. So you could very well judge for yourself. Below is some information about Follow Your Star Home, A Wish for All Seasons (Mrs. Allyn’s contribution to the collection) about Mrs. Allyn herself, and The Bluestocking Belles. As always our readers’ comments are welcome and appreciated.

About Follow Your Star Home: Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard. In eight stories, covering more than half the world and a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put the legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic, as prodigals return home in the season of good will, uncertain of their welcome. 25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H4ZY517

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2y0SJbd

iBooks: https://apple.co/2ObkLLj

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/follow-your-star-home

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/894110

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon BR: https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon ES: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon FR: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon IT: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon JP: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon MX: https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon NL: https://www.amazon.nl/dp/B07H4ZY517

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H4ZY517

About A Wish for All Seasons: The last thing Caibre MacFearann wants is to return to Scotland let alone be forced to stay there. But the chance to rekindle the lost love of his youth is too tempting to resist. Losing Caibre MacFearann’s love once hurt so much that Aisla MacKai wants nothing to do with him when a blizzard brings the man to her doorstep. Kindness and human charity require that she give him shelter, no matter that her poor heart had never mended.

About Mrs. Rue Allyn: Rue Allyn is the award-winning author of heart melting historical and contemporary romances. A USN veteran with a Ph.D. in medieval literature, Rue has retired south of the US border where she basks in the glow of sunny days and heated inspiration. She continues to enjoy professional relationships in the Romance Writers of America, The Maumee Valley Romance Authors Inc. and the (in)famous Bluestocking Belles.

About The Bluestocking Belles:

The Belles are ten very different writers united by a love of history and a history of writing about love. From sweet to steamy, from light-hearted fun to dark tortured tales full of angst, from London ballrooms to country cottages to the sultan’s seraglio, one or more of us will have a tale to suit your tastes and mood.

We love doing joint projects. This year’s boxed set is Follow Your Star Home, Eight original stories, more than 600 pages of diverse characters, complex relationships, and happily ever afters. Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas. Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard. If you’d like to learn more about us try searching these links.

  • Website: http://www.bluestockingbelles.net
  • Teatime Tattler: http://bluestockingbelles.net/category/teatime-tattler/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bellesinblue/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/BellesInBlue
  • Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/bellesinblue/

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_

 

No but a Tacksman?

1814   Golburn, Sutherland, Scottish Highlands

“Young Robbie, he’s got an eye to your daughter,” said Màiri Gunn, as she drove her hoe into the ground, “and he’s smart and a right handsome young man, so tall for his age.”

“Robbie?” Sofia Gray’s mother frowned. “They grew up together, but since she’s becomin’ a woman, I’ve kept ‘er in the bothy and away from ‘im. He’ll be no but a tacksman,” she said with disdain.

blackhouse“No but a tacksman?” Màiri stopped and leaned on the wooden handle. “A tacksman is as high as a daughter of yours is bound to go. What, do you have plans to wed her to the son of the laird or something?” She laughed.

Sofia’s mother gritted her teeth and practically growled as she attacked the ground with renewed fervor. “We’re the biggest tenant farmers on this tack. They’d be lookin’ hard t’ find a better match fer their sons, but especially young Archibald.”

Màiri stared at her and gritted her teeth for a moment. “You forget yourself, woman. How do you intend to make this come to pass?”

Sofia Somewhere Like HomeMrs. Gray drew herself up. “Why, by sendin’ Sofia up t’ the manor into service. The sons won’t be able to resist her, and she’ll be wed before the year’s out,” she said, her voice edged with triumph. “An’ the whole family’ll benefit.”

“You have rocks in your head, woman.” Màiri wouldn’t bother going into all the reasons why it would never happen. “She’d end up like poor Fenella. Just returned from the laird’s to the village, and her so far along.”

robbie somewhere like home“Sofia isn’t a slut like her.” Mrs. Gray turned up her nose. “And we’re related to the laird.”

“We’re all related to the laird.” Màiri snorted. “No doubt it wasn’t for Fenella’s lack of trying to resist. Fenella’s a lovely girl. Your Sofia is too, but she’s a lot softer than Fenella ever was—she wouldn’t survive up there.” Màiri shook her head at the audacity of the woman. Everyone knew about the laird’s eldest son. Pray young Sofia wasn’t sent up into that lion’s den.

scottish

This has been a deleted scene from Somewhere Like Home, Lizzi Tremayne’s contribution to the Bluestocking Belles’ 2018 Holiday Boxed set! Hope you enjoyed it!

somewhere like home blurb

From the Highlands to Waterloo—can love prevail over fate?

1813, Scottish Highlands

When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and off down the road to build a life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety during the clearance of their village at Sofia’s expense, leaving her at the mercy of the laird’s degenerate son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

Follow Your Star Home is available now!

If you like Somewhere Like Home in Follow Your Star Home, be sure to join  Lizzi Tremayne’s VIP List here to be notified when Somewhere Called Home, the full novel, is released in May 2019!

The Bluestocking Belles 2018 Holiday Boxed Set

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas.

Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories covering more than a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put this legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic as prodigals return home in the season of goodwill, uncertain of their welcome.

The Bluestocking Belles are proud to present eight never before published novellas in their latest Holiday collection. As always, we will donate some of the proceeds of the box set to a cause dear to the hearts of the Bluestocking Belles, women’s education. 25% of all proceeds will be donated to the Malala Fund.

Eight original stories, more than 600 pages of diverse characters,  complex relationships, and happily ever afters.

Only $3.99 US for this massive book!  Enjoy!

FYSHThe Novellas

A Yule Love Story, by Nicole Zoltack

When Sonja stumbles upon fallen bodies littering her beach, she heals the lone survivor. After all, her late mother had been a healer.

Unbeknownst to Sonja, that survivor is none other than Anoundus. At one time, he ruled alongside his brother as co-kings of Sweden, but no longer. He has been banished.

What kind of life will he face here? What role will Sonja play? Can the two dare to find love this Yuletide?

Paradise Regained, by Jude Knight

James Winderfield yearns to end a long journey in the arms of his loving family. But his father’s agents offer the exiled prodigal forgiveness and a place in Society — if he abandons his foreign-born wife and children to return to England.

With her husband away, Mahzad faces revolt, invasion and betrayal in the mountain kingdom they built together. A queen without her king, she will not allow their dream and their family to be destroyed.

But the greatest threats to their marriage and their lives together is the widening distance between them. To win Paradise, they must face the truths in their hearts.

Somewhere Like Home, by Lizzi Tremayne

Things are heating up in the Scottish Highlands. When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and heads for the city to build a new life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety for herself and the remainder of the family during the clearance of their village—and leaves Sofia to the lusts of the laird’s degenerate son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

But Sofia is dead, or is she?

A Wish for All Seasons, by Rue Allyn

The last thing Caibre MacFearann wants is to return to Scotland let alone be forced to stay there. But the chance to rekindle the lost love of his youth is too tempting to resist.

Losing Caibre MacFearann’s love once hurt so much that Aisla MacKai wants nothing to do with him when a blizzard brings the man to her doorstep. Kindness and human charity require that she give him shelter, no matter that her poor heart had never mended.

From the Umbrella Chronicles: James and Annie’s Story, by Amy Quinton

His Grace, James Quill, will not be a bachelor-in-poor-standing for very much longer. For I, Lady Harriett Ross of the Infamous Umbrella, have avowed to orchestrate his betrothal to his former best friend, Miss Annie Merryweather, whether either of them wishes it.

Surprisingly, His Grace has agreed to my proposed 10-step plan.

Not-so-surprisingly, Her Soon-to-be-Grace is determined to resist the notorious prodigal son.

Will they find love and forgiveness this holiday season?

Time will tell.

Lady Harriett Ross,

Self-proclaimed Motley Meddler * Mistress of Destiny * Wielder of the Infamous Umbrella

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

The Last Post, by Caroline Warfield

Love for Rosemarie Legrand gave Harry the will to go on during the horror of trench warfare. Now, army orders trap him in a camp awaiting repatriation. A bout of the Spanish flu lays him even lower, but he is determined not to leave without her. He’ll desert if he has to.

Rosemarie waits for word on her cousin’s farm where she took refuge when war reached the outskirts of Amiens. She wrote to tell him. Has he forgotten her? When the slimmest of information arrives, she sets out to find him.

Can these two lovers reunite before it is too late?

A Fine Chance, by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Helen Watson arranged a job for an out-of-work former soldier at her workplace, unaware that she’s the miracle Robert Fairmont needed.

Robert has returned from the Great War a new man with a new name. A job in his father’s factory is the first step toward reconciliation.

Can Helen forgive him for hiding his true or will Robert end up losing his father and his one true love?

All he needs is a fine chance.

One Last Kiss: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time novella, by Sherry Ewing

Banished from his homeland, Thomas of Clan Kincaid lives among distant relatives, reluctantly accepting he may never return home… Until an encounter with the castle’s healer tells him of a woman travelling across time—for him.

Dare he believe the impossible?

Jade Calloway is used to being alone, and as Christmas approaches, she’s skeptical when told she’ll embark on an extraordinary journey. How could a trip to San Francisco be anything but ordinary? But when a ring magically appears, and she sees a ghostly man in her dreams…

Dare she believe in the possible?

Thrust back in time, Jade encounters Thomas—her fantasy ghost. Talk about extraordinary. But as time works against them, they must learn to trust in miracles.

Can they accept impossible love before time interferes?

Hope you love the stories!

Once again, if you like Somewhere Like Home in Follow Your Star Home, be sure to join  Lizzi Tremayne’s VIP List here to be notified when the full novel, renamed  Somewhere Called Home is released in May 2019!

Until next time!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

 

A Lady Vanishes

Vanishes

Along the Yorkshire road…

A report of a most disconcerting occurrence has been received by this humble reporter: the disappearance in Yorkshire of a Lady of Quality!

 

It is a known fact that this Lady—we shall call her Lady J—has in the recent weeks become enmeshed in the Affairs of a certain Lord S. These would be Affairs of State as it were, given the Lord in question’s heroic service to the Crown during the past decades which have contributed greatly to the safety of these Isles.

It was most particularly noted that Lady J was absent from the wedding of Lady P, the noble daughter of Lord S. Lady P’s perilous adventures were reported in these pages some weeks ago. (https://bluestockingbelles.net/was-the-lady-rescued-or-retrieved/) Given the previous intimacy of Lady J and the family of Lord S, her absence from the nuptial festivities has been remarked upon by all and sundry.

I rush to assure you that in spite of rumors and whispers to the contrary, we have it on good account that no disparagement falls on the Lady’s character. Nay, those who know report only the greatest concerns over her whereabouts and doubts of her safe return to the society of her peers.

Rest assured your humble correspondent is pursuing all avenues of inquiry to learn more on this alarming story.

About the Book, Avenging the Earl’s Lady

He’s the most irritating, inscrutable, insufferable lord in the kingdom.
Also nosy, managing, and manipulative, and a man who’s made an art of revenge. She ought to know better than to encourage his attentions. But…he’s rich, and when an impossible debt from her past comes due, theft seems the only answer.

What had he missed about her?
She’s nobly born, and proper. If he wanted a wife, she’d be perfect. Not to mention, he’d very much like her in his bed. But she’s gone missing, along with a priceless painting he needs for revenge on one last enemy. Avenging his own honor is everything—until that of his lady is threatened.

Find out what happens when the invincible Spy Lord meets his match!

Available November 12. Preorder now at these retailers:
Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Avenging-Earls-Lady-Romantic-Suspense-ebook/dp/B07JLPKNST
Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/avenging-the-earl-s-lady
iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/avenging-the-earls-lady/id1439975064
Nook:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/avenging-the-earls-lady-alina-k-field/1129776917

~excerpt~

She drew a fingertip along the crease of the canvas where it had been tightened against the wooden stretchers, marveling that such a fragile thing should hold up so well. Along one edge, dark marks, ink perhaps, had bled through from the underside. Lifting the edge and peering closer, she could make out a series of numbers.

Strange.

The work was much smaller than the Caravaggio she’d seen. It was about the size of the small landscape that hung in the bedroom she shared with Lady Perry. She spread her hands wide, taking its measure.

Rolled up, it would fit nicely in the gold-painted rolling pin.

“Where is my daughter?”

Alarm pounded through her. She dropped her hands to her side and froze, eyes shut tight against the flare of panic.

Bloody Shaldon tracked her everywhere.

Warmth touched her waist like a bolt from on high, sending hot desire wriggling inside her. Since his turn with the laudanum, Shaldon wouldn’t stop touching her.

When this was over, she would think seriously about taking a lover, if she could find some gentleman as appealing as Shaldon who would have her, as old and poor as she was.

She glanced over her shoulder, seeing only his beard-shadowed jaw. “I couldn’t resist the temptation.” Her voice shook and she eased in a breath. “I’ve never seen a real masterpiece.”

“It is remarkable, I suppose.”

Unlike many of his peers, Shaldon didn’t collect art. Shaldon House boasted only family portraits and a few paintings of favorite horses and landscapes. His interest lay in collecting and squashing his enemies.

Her heart pounded wildly. If all went right, she would soon be in that number.

“Have you seen Lady Perry, my dear?”

His breath tickled her ear, and the hand at the back of her waist slid a bit further around, bending her to him.

She lifted his hand away and turned to face him.

Dark eyes sparkled in the candlelight, completely unreadable. She rooted her feet resisting the urge to step away, risking the nearness. She could see the pulse in his temple and—

“You are bleeding, Shaldon.”

A bead of blood sparkled and threatened to roll down his cheek. His neckcloth was loose and stained red where he must have mopped at his wound. Under the neckcloth, his shirt flapped, more blood coloring the white linen there.

She dug in her pocket for her handkerchief and pressed it to his head. His hand wrapped hers and his gaze softened, setting her insides melting again.

When this was over, she was definitely seeking a lover. Not Shaldon, of course. Not him. She must not fall any further into his enticements.

She drew her hand away and studied the wound. “Sit down, my lord.” She nudged him into a chair, pressing the cloth to his head again. “We’ll hold this here for a few moments. Do close your eyes.”

His lip quirked. “Why?”

“I can see the pulse in your temple pounding. You must take deep breaths and calm yourself.”

“Must I?” he asked, lifting a corner of his mouth in a half-smile. “I find that difficult to do when I’m around you, Jane.”

About the Author

Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit her at:
https://alinakfield.com/
https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield
https://twitter.com/AlinaKField
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field
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https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field
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Ghostly Gossip

ghostLady Bell invited Mr. Tilson to tea not because she likes him, but to hear about a ghost. I had learned a little about the specter from friends in Carlisle, and she wanted to know more. Unfortunately, Mr. Tilson didn’t want to discuss ghosts. He preferred to backbite about living people.

“All the Warrens are scandalous, absolutely scandalous,” Mr. Tilson told us. “From Lord Garrison to his sister to his cousins, they’re simply dreadful. It’s in their blood.”

There is a certain amount of truth to this. Lord Garrison and his kinfolk do tend to live by their own rules, but they are also far more fun than most people with whom I’m acquainted.

“Surely not.” Lady Bell motioned to me to pour Mr. Tilson a second cup of tea. “Thomasina Warren is a charming girl, so perfectly behaved that she is known as The One Good Warren. She would have made you an excellent wife.”

“So I thought.” Mr. Tilson heaved a sigh redolent of the seed cake with which he had stuffed himself. “But when I questioned her sternly with the full force of my manly intellect, Miss Warren herself admitted to the taint.” He took a breath. “In fact, she confessed to an uncontrollable urge to sin.”

I ask you, how likely is that?

Her ladyship glowered at him. “What nonsense. No innocent maiden would say anything of the kind.”

Particularly to a stodgy sort like Tilson.

“I do beg your pardon,” he murmured. “It was the truth, but I shouldn’t have mentioned something so unsavory in the presence of ladies.”

He sighed again, and I moved as far as possible from him on the sofa. I like seed cake, but not at second hand.

“I have heard that Miss Warren doesn’t wish to marry,” I said.

“Nonsense, my dear Clara,” Lady Bell said. “Every young woman wishes to do so.” She simply will not accept the fact that I have never been tempted to exchange my comfortable single state for submission to some tedious male.

Ghost“Miss Warren knows full well that she is unmarriageable,” Mr. Tilson said. “Her conniving father tried to trap me into wedding her. Much as I pity her, I was fortunate to escape before I found myself tied to her forever.” He was enjoying himself, which is in frightfully bad taste. How vile to denigrate the former object of his affection!

It was obvious to me that Miss Warren was the one who had escaped. What’s worse, now he gazed at me with a warm expression in his eyes.

Lady Bell gave a smug little smile. Good God, was she thinking I might like to wed this bore?

Time to change the subject. I assumed an expression of trepidatious inquiry. “Earlier, her ladyship mentioned something about a ghost at Hearth House.”

Lady Bell set down her teacup. She is an enthusiastic believer in the supernatural. “Yes, a Roman soldier who patrols Hadrian’s Wall. He carries a spear and threatens anyone who comes near.” She paused, twinkling. “Except courting couples of whom he approves.”

“Now, now, my lady,” Mr. Tilson said. “You will have your little jest, but ghosts do not exist. Old houses like Hearth House tend to creak and groan, especially in cold weather.”

I put on an innocent face. “I was told that you made banishing the ghost a condition of marrying Miss Warren—but how can one drive away something that isn’t real?”

Mr. Tilson reddened, hastening to explain. “To calm her, so she need not fear for the safety of our future children.” What a lie that was! I knew from other sources that it was he who’d been afraid. Imagine refusing to marry a girl because of a ghost!

“Why should she fear?” I asked. “By what I’ve heard, she likes the ghost. It protects her from unwanted suitors.”

Mr. T glared. I must confess, I enjoyed witnessing his attempt to summon his manly intellect and produce an explanation that made him look fearless, noble, self-sacrificing, and so on.

“That only goes to show,” he said, “that sin is not the only taint in her family. There’s madness, too.” He paused dramatically and lowered his voice to a hush. “I saw her talking to the ghost.”

Heavens! “You saw the ghost?”

He huffed. “No, I saw her talking to thin air, which is a well-known trait of the insane. It gave me quite a turn. Thank God for that pleasant young man who was visiting Hearth House and kindly warned me away.”

Hmm…. I wonder now, who is the pleasant young man, and what was his reason for getting rid of Mr. Tilson? I can think of several possibilities. I believe I shall pay a visit to Hearth House and find out!

GhostAbout the Book

Faced with the intolerable suitors her father approves, Thomasina Warren resolves never to marry, and decides to lose her virginity so that no respectable man will have her. Who better to ruin her than handsome, charming James Blakely? But James is an honorable man and refuses point-blank. Humiliated, she resorts to outright refusal to wed, with the help of a ghost who scares her suitors away. But four years later, her father has arranged her marriage to a stodgy gentlemen whose only condition is that the ghost must be banished forever.

James Blakely never forgot the lovely girl who asked him to ruin her, and when he offers to get rid of the ghost, he thinks he’ll be doing a good deed. Instead, he is faced with the hostile Thomasina, her cowardly suitor, pigheaded father, lecherous cousin, an exorcist monk, and a ghost who warns of danger and deadly peril—and a few short days in which to convince Thomasina that with the right man, she might just want to marry after all.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07F71SZD6/

About the Author

Award-winning author 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). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

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