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Eyewitness to a Scandalous Reunion

Dear Readers,
The Teatime Tattler received a most interesting post from a reliable informant, a lady who is a true friend to this publication. You will not see this news anywhere else!
So, without further ado…


My Dear Mr. Clemens,

Last night, I had the honor of attending a most prestigious entertainment at the home of Lady P. It was cheek by jowl as the best of these events are. One could look left and then right and find something of value to your readers.

Nevertheless, I have resolved to report on the most diverting episode of the evening, the reunion of a Scotsman and his former wife. I am told that their divorce some two decades ago—yes, Mr. Clemens, decades!—was fraught with allegations of infidelity on the part of the lady. (As such matters are—and dare I say how unfair it is to the ladies with wandering husbands?)

But I digress. The Scotsman—I shall call him Lord C, for indeed he bears a title besides a military rank from his twenty years in service to the Crown. His former wife, Mrs. D, as she calls herself (though she never remarried), arrived on the arm of a much younger Lord M who claimed to be a cousin. In fact, he declared within hearing of all nearby that the lady was not his mistress!

I suppose the young lord did not wish to be called out by Lord C, for indeed, though Lord C wore no regimentals, he has the appearance of a fierce warrior; and though he staggered about, it was whispered to me that he was not drunk, but merely recovering from wounds.

May I venture to say that it was not old wounds that had him wobbling—but much-deserved guilt and regret. For Mrs. D is a dignified and quite beautiful lady, despite not being in the first bloom of youth. There was much whispering behind hands. I suspect that once published, this news will be one for the betting books.

Will he and the lady reunite, or not?

Fated Hearts, A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play

Plagued by hellish memories and rattling visions of battle to come, a Scottish Baron returning from two decades at war meets the daughter he denied was his, and the wife he divorced, and learns that everything he’d believed to be true was a lie. What he can’t deny is that she’s the only woman he’s ever loved. They’re not the young lovers they once were, but when passion flares, it burns more hotly than ever it did in their youth.

They soon discover, it wasn’t fate that drove them apart, but a jealous enemy, who played on his youthful arrogance and her vulnerability. Now that old enemy has resurfaced, more treacherous than ever. When his lady falls into a trap, can he reach her in time to rescue this love that never died?


A crush was what they called these suffocating occasions, and the term was apt.

Major Finnley Macbeth, Scottish baron and late of his majesty’s Highland Brigade, shifted his weight from the leg that still ached like the devil, and scanned the room for his quarry, an undersecretary in the Home Office who he’d met at the army’s winter quarters in Frenada.

From his spot near a damask covered wall, he measured each breath, trying to calm his rising unease. The heavy scent of perfume mixed with fine beeswax and hothouse florals unsettled more than his stomach. The shimmering silks and waving plumes threatened to stir the disquieting visions plaguing him lately.

Fire, explosions, rain, the screams of men and horse.

He squeezed his hands into fists. These were not the hellish memories of the recent past, dammit, but rattling visions of some battle yet to come.

Or not. Foretelling the future was for Travellers and crones, wasn’t it? Not battle-hardened men like himself.

He inhaled slowly, holding the breath for a count, and then eased the air out. Best keep his purpose in mind—he was here to track down Sir Thomas Abernathy, lately arrived in London, and rumored to be attending this rout.

His gaze swept the room, seeking the distinctive bald pate. In spite of his own forty-three years, his eyesight was still keen enough to make out a sniper or spot the dust of a fleeing stag. Keen enough as well to relish the deep décolletages and clinging, delicate, almost transparent skirts on display this night, a vision far more cheering than the one the Sight was showing him.

A more modestly clad woman stood alone halfway across the ballroom, her back turned to him, surveying the room as he was doing.

A memory stabbed him, laced with an old shame. He’d once known a lass with hair like this, so abundant, so near to black. The lady tonight had crowned all the loveliness with dark feathers, like a glorious cormorant. His hand itched to pull out those feathers and rake his hands through the tumble of hair, as he’d once done…

He caught a steadying breath. It couldn’t be her. He’d simply been without a woman too long.

And these visions plaguing him of he knew not what? That foolishness grew from naught but fatigue, the wages of war, and the steady company of too much death. Napoleon had been defeated. He must put the memories of battle and that more distant passion aside. The lovely lady with feathers atop her head was only a stranger wondering where her man had got to.

Yet he couldn’t turn away. As he watched, she pivoted one way, and then the other, allowing a glimpse of dangling earbobs and a firm chin.

Drawn to her, he stepped out on his bad leg just as she turned.

Pain shot through his hip. The room threatened to fall away but he held onto the pain, let it shore him up whilst he swore a silent curse.

It was her.

Fated Hearts is only 99 cents through June 30, 2023

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About the Author

Alina K. FieldAward winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but prefers 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, where she shares a midcentury home with her a spunky, blond rescued terrier and a sociable chihuahua. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. Though hard at work on her next series of romantic adventures, she loves to hear from readers!


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Hearts and Hope at Hollystone Hall

Sam Clemens, proprietor of The Teatime Tattler, bought the stablemaster another mug of dark bitter, his fifth by Sam’s count. It was a powerful brew, and Sam was still nursing his second. He wanted to keep his own wits, and befuddle those of his companion. Bellowes must have a head of pure oak, for he was still upright and coherent, though he was speaking a bit more loudly and gesturing wildly to punctuate his points.

“Not a beauty, not by our measure,” he was saying. “The head was too small and the back too long. But a magnificent beast, for all that. And what that there viscount could do with him! You’d not believe it, and that’s a fact.”

Viscount? The matter was in some dispute, since the man in question was the offspring of a ducal heir and a foreign woman, the marriage (if it happened at all) taking place in some place high in the mountains at the rear end of the Persian empire.

Bellowes would be of little use if he could not be persuaded to talk about anything but horses.

“I’m surprised the Haverfords invited Lord Elfingham,” Sam said. “It’s no secret that His Grace is behind the move to have his father’s marriage declared invalid.”

“As to that, he arrived unexpected,” Bellowes declared. “His horse came up lame, he said. Good trick that. He was courting one of the Belvoir ladies, and that’s the truth. Clever horse, like I told you.”

Not back to the horse again! Sam thought quickly. “He wasn’t the only unexpected arrival, I heard. You’d see them all, in the stables.”

“That I do. That I do. Let me see. There was the young Hebrew. Nice fellow. Turned up bright and early on one post horse, leading another. He came a courting too, by all accounts. Them up at the house say he’d been on a mission for the Duke of Wellington himself! Think of that. Well, he had his own mission at Hollystone Hall.”

Yes, Sam had heard about that. Some relative of Baumann the banker, and Baumann’s daughter was a guest at the party.

“And young Lord Jonathan, of course. He was only here for a couple of days, though, and then he and Lord Aldridge ordered the carriage, and took off for London. And Lady Sophia Belvoir went with them! A nice lady like that. Who’d have thought it.”

“House parties can be scandalous places,” Sam suggested, hoping Bellowes would confirm with some more gossip.

But Bellowes shook his head, saying staunchly, “Not parties run by the duchess. A lot of billing and cooing, mind you. But no hanky-panky. Let me see. We had Lord Nicholas Lacey exchanging a kiss for a big donation to Her Grace’s charity. That’s what the party was for, you understand. To raise money for education.” He shook his head again, more slowly this time. “Though what women need with an education I don’t know.”

Sam responded with a neutral sound that Bellowes could take as he liked, and Bellowes continued.

“His brother-in-law, too. Mr Durand was here with his betrothed, and they seemed like a fine couple. I got to know the young ladies a little, Lord Lacey’s daughter and Mr Durand’s. They used to come down with the other schoolroom chits to feed the horses. That oriental? Gentle as a lamb.”

Sam leapt in before Bellowes could return to the horse. “You had a wedding, I’m told.”

“That we did. An earl and an actress, if you can believe it!”

Sam, who had seen Miss Halfpenny on the stage, could easily believe that the reclusive Earl of Somerton was besotted, but marriage? Society was shocked, but rumour had it that the two most concerned were blissfully happy.

“His cousin wasn’t best pleased. Took off early, he did. Just as well, too, because we’d not have had room for the Woodville coach or Lord Stanton. They arrived just in time for the ball on the last night, though they’d been expected right at the beginning.”

Sam could smell a story, could all but taste it, but no one was talking. Lord Stanton, his sister Miss Lockhart, and his stepmother had left London together, as had Miss Woodville and her brother. Lady Stanton had arrived at the party at the beginning, Lord Stanton had later appeared on his own. Miss Lockhart had not only come with the Woodvilles, she was actually married to Mr Woodville. He would keep digging. Someone must know what had happened.

“Two weeks of romance,” he commented.

Bellowes eyes were drooping, but he opened them again. “That they were, and the servants’ hall abuzz with our own.” He chuckled. “The French chef and the duchess’s cousin. Who’d have thought it?” With that, he toppled forward onto the table, and in moments was snoring. Sam would get no more out of him tonight.

Mr Bellowes is talking about characters and stories from the anthology Holly and Hopeful Hearts. You can read the blurbs for each story here, and get the buy links. Furthermore, the collection is on special this month for only 99c, which is pretty good for 680 pages of fiction!

•*☆Holly & Hopeful Hearts is a RONE nominee☆*•

The Bluestocking Belles were thrilled to learn Holly and Hopeful Hearts became a RONE nominee with InD’Tale Magazine. Voting begins for the Anthology category from April 24th – April 30th but you have to be signed in to the website to vote at It is easy to register, and you won’t be sorry—it is a great little magazine.

The Bluestocking Belles would sincerely appreciate your support by voting for our box set since this round is reader based. Starting Monday after you sign in you can vote here:

Thank you for your support from the Bluestocking Belles.

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