The scandalous passing of Sir Richard Carmichael rocked all of London several weeks ago. As we reported, whispers of his suicide in the desert sands reached the furthest corners of our nation, and inquiring minds made careful note of the interment of his empty coffin adjacent to the church’s perimeter wall, as if uncertain he should rest, even in spirit, within sanctified grounds. Yet, dear readers, the distress of his appalling death is not the only matter amiss in the Carmichael sphere.
Indeed, it is Sir Richard’s daughter, Miss Phoebe Carmichael, whose actions serve to shock the civilized world. Spied in solitary conversation with the newly-minted Viscount Trelawney, without benefit of chaperone and during her period of mourning, one might add, the heiress further breached Society’s moral underpinnings and standards by engaging in what might only be termed low-behavior. Readers interested in the slew of iniquitous rumors surrounding Miss C will take note of the following, although those with a faint heart are advised to exercise caution before apprehending the extent of the Carmichael’s villainy:
- Lord T, in complete disregard of convention, sent offerings of jellied plops colored in the shades of grief to Miss C during the week following her father’s funeral. His attempt to woo the wealthy lioness with Spring’s promise and Winter’s demise is said to have been successful, though I shall leave the reader to imagine the exact nature of how Miss C tumbled to his puffery; and
- Lord T thereafter instilled himself at Miss C’s home, disguised as a confectioner. Though the queen’s solicitor has been remarked to be singularly talented at the occupation of sweets, such pursuits remain beneath the ancient title passed to him, nor, indeed, that of any honorable gentleman, and
- It begins to appear Sir Richard might not be dead after all, but only the victim of foul play at the hands of the acclaimed society of Assyriologists, Veritas, though all readers of discernment will hold reasonable doubt as to the veracity of these accusations against the credible and enlightened gentlemen, and
- Lord T, rumored to be employed in secret with The Office, is embroiled in a scheme to aid Sir Richard in returning to Society, in the hopes he might thereafter wed the man’s daughter. Those who regularly follow this enlightened chronical are aware that the clandestine organization, without official name or fiat, serves the queen directly as her henchmen and act as guardians of the nation.
Are these rumors true? Is Lord T so much more than he appears? Will he gain the hand of the fair maiden? Has he yet ruined her in fact as well as practice? And if Sir Richard lives, will he, in turn, attempt to murder a viscount who led Miss C to such end? There is only one cure for the illicit goings-on: marriage, but will it prove sufficient?
The Teatime Tattler will leave readers to judge for themselves. Meanwhile, we shall keep a close eye upon the couple and await the reading of the banns.
About Primrose & Promises: When Sebastian Edgars, the newly minted Viscount Trelawney, meets the woman of his dreams, the ground shifts beneath his feet. Unfortunately, she has just buried her father and is required to mourn for a year. Though the rules say he cannot court her, he can’t abide her absence, and so he does the only thing he can think to do: he disguises himself as a servant in her home so they might come to know each other better.
Miss Phoebe Carmichael has decided she will never marry. Wealthy and impatient, when she meets Sebastian everything in her calms. He understands her grief and how spring’s promise will lead her back to life again.
As secret organizations and mad Assyriologists battle, the two fall in love. Will their love prove strong enough to overcome societal norms and those set against their union?
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Excerpt: Reggie’s Miss Carmichael sat upon the edge of the brick flooring, a full plate pushed to her side. Unveiled, eyes closed, golden hair trailing behind her crape-draped form in a waterfall of silk, she leaned upon her black-gloved palms and tilted her face toward the sun. The careful knot into which she had earlier pinned her tresses had come undone. Her skirt caught under her leg so a tiny swathe of ankle lay revealed.
Something fierce and primal reached across the space to grab him by the throat as his previous sense of disquiet intensified. Stumbling mid-step, he caught his wobbling plate before it crashed to the stones.
The apricating lioness didn’t appear to notice his tottering footfall. He waited, straightening slowly. When she still didn’t move, he began to rotate, to slink back to the house and leave her to her privacy. Half-turned, he hesitated. If she opened her eyes and caught him vanishing behind a hedge, would she think he had spied upon her like some churl?
Probably. He raised his voice. “Pardon me. Miss Carmichael?”
Yellow eyes, golden eyes, flew open as she sprang straight. The color of those orbs traveled the distance and punched him in the gut. The earth shifted, threatening to throw him flat upon the earth.
It was a mystery how he didn’t fall to his knees.
About the Author: Judy Lynn Ichkhanian invites you to read her latest addition to the Wild Rose Press’s series, “Jelly Beans and Spring Things.” You’ll meet cross-over characters and further explore the world of the “Raised All Wrong” series. Victorian Romance has never been so fun! And if you sign up for the free newsletter at the author’s website, judylynnichkhanian.com , you’ll receive a free book in the RAW series that further explores the antics of Veritas and the suffering and romance of those in The Office who oppose them.