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Scandal in Virginia

Excerpt from The New Hope Enterprise

Dec. 29, 1863

It is a sad day indeed when we are forced to communicate such news as follows, but it is our duty to bring you even the most scandalous incidents…even if they involve one of the most highly regarded residents of our region—the venerated war hero, Colonel Johnathon P. Wescott.

Mrs. Charlotte Tisdale, a well-respected resident of New Hope reported the following, and we relay it now to you. It seems that an impromptu gala was thrown together at Lacewood by Colonel Wescott’s men, who were given leave by their beloved commander to take part in Christmas Eve festivities. It was late at night before Colonel Wescott left his post on the battlefield, but he finally appeared at Lacewood, looking as gallant and intrepid as ever such a highly esteemed man can look.

Of course, those in attendance at Lacewood included all of the eligible young ladies from the region who hoped to catch a glimpse—or perhaps even a dance—with the widowed father.

Scandal Virginia

Dear readers, here is the news of which I warned you. It has been reported to us by Mrs. Tisdale (and others) that the Colonel danced the night away—not with one of the highly regarded Southern belles in attendance—but with the Yankee caretaker of his young daughter!

Yes, friends, if you live in New Hope, you know the sad story. The poor child was left motherless by the passing of his wife almost a year ago, and now the sweet darling has been left in the hands of a stranger whose reputation and character are known to us only by the gossip that trickles in by attentive neighbors.

However, we know all we need to know. Mrs. Tisdale confirmed that this woman, this Yankee she-devil, hails from New York and has a brother in the Union army. Yes, you read that correctly. A brother…In the Union Army.

Wishing to verify these rumors—which are obviously too absurd and preposterous to be accepted on their face, we discovered that the news gets even worse. It seems Miss Annie Logan (the caretaker) placed herself beneath the mistletoe when Colonel Wescott was near, and, of course, being a Southern gentlemen of the highest order, he felt obligated to satisfy the tradition that has been handed down for centuries.

My own face reddens at the thought of this conniving kiss. Who knows what else has transpired between the walls of Lacewood? We can only hope that it will not stain the character of its occupants for generations to come…

About the Book

Two people trying to escape their pasts find a connection through an old house—and fulfill a destiny through the secrets it shares. Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in fate, letting of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.

MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.

Purchasing the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story, Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.

Sometimes love is just too powerful for one lifetime…

The past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the shadows for centuries is fulfilled.

Take advantage of the low launch-week price of only $3.99, and sign up for the author’s newsletter at https://www.jessicajamesbooks.com.

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An Excerpt

December 1863

“I think Jon has finally broken away from the ladies,” Luke said at last. “Here he comes.”

Annie turned and watched with an incredible degree of composure as Colonel Wescott strode toward her with calm detachment, pinioning her where she stood with his devouring stare. A strange sensation throbbed in her then—like the beating of a new heart—and she marveled at its power to fluster and confuse.

When he reached her he stopped, but his caressing gaze continued to play across her face. “You are aware of the tradition, I suppose.”

Colonel Wescott’s voice, Annie had learned, could be penetrating and commanding, or gentle and kind. He could easily silence an entire roomful of people without yelling or losing control—and could just as effortlessly melt her heart with the tender tones of a father.

The tenor tonight was both warm and imposing, throwing her off balance. Her eyes darted around, not understanding his meaning. “Tradition?”

He merely gestured to a place over her head, his smile widening as she took in the swag of mistletoe hanging above her.

Grasping Luke’s ruse that had placed her in this spot, Annie transferred her gaze to Luke just as he was exchanging a mischievous wink with his brother. Even Miss Benton was now brimming over with amusement.

“Do you need schooling in the ritual?” Colonel Wescott’s tone was businesslike, but the sentiment on his face was not. It reflected a playfulness, a cheerful joviality that was both infatuating and intimidating. He’d never crossed this line of familiarity with her before—and Annie was fairly sure he’d not done so with others, even those he considered close friends.

She wanted to pretend an affront, but when faced with his appealing smile her defenses melted away. Candlelight and music filled the air, exaggerating and intensifying the intoxication of her senses. Laughter and conversation blended and blurred until nothing existed but the man before her, whose smoldering eyes beckoned seductively.

About the Author

Jessica James is an award-winning author of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and Christian fiction, who combined all of her favorite things to create Lacewood.

Her new release is a multi-era, small town, clean, inspirational novel that melds together elements of mystery, history, and romance.

As someone who lives in a 200-year-old house, Jessica was intrigued when thinking about the generations of people who occupied the same home. Lacewood gives readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what took place in an old neglected Southern mansion before two people from the modern world stumble across it and into each other. It’s a love story that spans centuries, taking readers on a journey into the past as the house reveals secrets about a long-lost love affair.

You can find her here:

Website

Amazon Author Page

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Freya’s Folly

Gentle Reader:

The Teatime Tattler received this aged parchment yesterday. While we puzzle over its delivery to our office, we are pleased to know brazen wenches are not new in 1815.

S. Clemens


Freya peaked around the canvas of a tent to watch the English knight as he made his way through the crowd. She had first seen him leaving his own tent this morn and on impulse she asked a nearby squire for the knight’s name. Sir Charles de Grey, she had been told, and a small smile had lit her face upon hearing it while she began following him through camp.

Heart pounding, she continued to dodge people and other obstacles in her pursuit to stay near Sir Charles. She was unprepared when he suddenly turned as though he felt her presence. She quickly ducked behind another tent in the hopes he had not caught her following him. She could not say why she was so drawn to this handsome stranger but he had certainly held her interest from afar. No harm could come from a closer look, could it?

With her chest heaving at the near thought of being found out, she dared another look only to find him gone! She stepped from her hiding place in order to once more continue her search for him. She was unprepared when her arm was taken in a fierce grip. Forced backwards against the canvas that had obviously not provided any source of concealment, she stared into the eyes of the very person who had momentarily escaped her. He was taller up close than she expected for she barely reached to his chest. With his blond hair and vivid blue eyes, she almost sighed at how handsome he was now that he stood before her. And then he spoke, and her world crashed down around her.

“Why are you following me?” he asked in an amused tone. Before she could answer, he continued, much to her dismay. “If you are looking for a bit of sport, I do not have time to dally at the moment. Perchance later, although I must admit you are prettier than most of the wenches who meander about.” He took hold of her chin as though to examine her closer before he gave her a quick kiss upon her lips.

“H-how d-dare ye kiss me?” Freya sputtered.

He began fumbling at a leather pouch upon his belt. Drawing out a coin, he held out the meager offering for her to take. “For your troubles…”

A gasp escaped her. “Do ye ken who ye are speaking tae?”

A chuckle escaped him. “Given you have been dodging my every move this morn, I assumed you were one of the women camp followers who earn their way at such events. Was I mistaken?”

He thought her a whore! His insult stung even as she knew her brother Douglas would be mortified to learn she had been following the man in the first place. Swinging her arm to smack the smirk off his face, he easily caught her hand before pulling her closer. Her breath left her while she tried to think clearly.

She began to struggle in his arms. “Ye braying arse! I am Lady Freya of Berwyck,” she shouted. He let go of her so quickly she stumbled to right herself and not land in the dirt.

“As in the sister to Laird Douglas of Clan MacLaren?” A look passed across his features showing her that he was not pleased she was associated with her brother.

“Aye. I will tell him of yer insult tae me,” she hissed.

“Tell him anything you like but for your own sake, and mine, stay away from me. I have had all I can handle from a MacLaren for one day.”

Freya continued to stare at him while he stomp away and as she watched him go, she was uncertain if she was happy or sad at his leaving.

scottish

Freya and Charles are secondary characters in Belle Sherry Ewing’s latest release: To Love A Scottish Laird: De Wolfe Pack Connected World. This novella has become a prequel to Sherry’s debut novel If My Heart Can See You. It combines the worlds of Katheryn Le Veque’s De Wolfe Pack series and Sherry’s Knights of Berwyck.

Sometimes you really can fall in love at first sight…

Lady Catherine de Wolfe knows she must find a husband before her brother chooses one for her. A tournament to celebrate the wedding of the Duke of Normandy might be her answer. She does not expect to fall for a man after just one touch.

Laird Douglas MacLaren of Berwyck is invited to the tournament by the Duke of Normandy. He goes to ensure Berwyck’s safety once Henry takes the throne. He does not expect to become entranced by a woman who bumps into him.

Yet, nothing is ever quite that simple. Not everyone is happy with the union of this English lady and a Scottish laird. From the shores of France, to Berwyck Castle on the border between their countries, Douglas and Catherine must find their way to protect their newfound love.

Excerpt:

“You can let go of me now,” she said softly, not wanting to appear ungrateful for his help. His arms dropped to his sides, and she swore she felt a loss she had never experienced before.

“Aye, of course,” he said a little too gruffly. “Mayhap we should introduce ourselves since I all but caused ye tae fall.”

“’Twas hardly your fault,” Catherine said with a small smile. “I must apologize for my clumsiness.”

“No harm was done as long as ye were not injured.”

“Nay… I am well, as you can see for yourself.”

“Ye appear very well.” A grin split his lips. He gave a short bow. “I am Douglas of Clan MacLaren and laird of Berwyck Castle. And ye are…”

She curtsied. “Lady Catherine de Wolfe.”

His brow lifted, giving evidence of his surprise. “de Wolfe?”

Catherine raised her chin. “Aye. You have perchance heard of us?” she asked. Although proud of her heritage, ’twas sometimes an inconvenience when it came to men, their ambitions, and her dowry. Dowry? When had Lord Douglas become a possibility for her husband?

He chuckled. “I would have tae be living in a hole in the ground tae have not heard of the de Wolfe family.”

Buy it on Amazon or read it now with Kindle Unlimited.

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More about Sherry:

Sherry is proud to be one of the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

You can learn more about her on the tab above or visit her on one of these social media outlets:

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He belongs to me…

Jade Calloway made her way into the Great Hall of Berwyck Castle still feeling overwhelmed by the miracle of her slipping through time. She saw Thomas standing near the massive fireplace with a group of his fellow knights. He raised a tankard of mead to his lips but paused when he saw her across the room. A smile reached his eyes and Jade blushed while she remembered their first kiss.

With a sudden urge to be near Thomas, Jade began to make her way through the hall before a serf bumped into her. Wine from the pitcher the young woman held sloshed onto Jade gown. A gasp of surprise rushed passed her lips when her garment became soaked to her skin.

“Ye best leave and return from whence ye came,” the girl said through clenched teeth.

Jade’s brow rose while she tried to remember the woman’s name. “Fira, isn’t it?”

“Aye.”

“No apology for ruining my gown?” Jade asked wondering why Fira was looking like she would have no problem thrusting a dagger into Jade’s back.

“He belongs to me,” Fira growled out.

Jade’s gaze went to Thomas who began to make his way towards her. “Who? Sir Thomas?”

“Nay… not him. Sir Gaillard. Stay away from him because he is mine.” Her eyes darted about the hall before she let out a curse and fled.

“Gaillard? You can have him,” Jade murmured watching Fira’s departure before she felt Thomas’s hand reach around her waist.

“Is she troubling you?” he whispered in her ear causing Jade to shiver with his nearness.

“No but that one is trouble, mark my words.”

“She is but a woman,” Thomas replied taking her arm.

“Said all men throughout time when they can’t see what is right before them,” Jade said with a laugh.

“Go change your gown and let us be about our day. Forget about Fira. These things have a way of working themselves out for the best,” Thomas said ushering Jade to her chamber.

And with his words, Jade forgot about the angry serf who was under some impression that Jade was after Gaillard. She had better things to do with her time here in twelfth century England than worry about a jealous woman.

You can learn more about Jade and Thomas by reading One Last Kissby Belle Sherry Ewing found in the Bluestocking Belles’ holiday box set Follow Your Star Home.

Sometimes it takes a miracle to find your heart’s desire…

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?

Buy Links:

Amazon US  |  iBooks |  Kobo |  Nook | Smashwords

Amazon AU | Amazon BR  | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon ES | Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NL | Amazon UK

Sherry is proud to be one of the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. 

You can learn more about her on the tab above or visit her on one of these social media outlets:

Website & Books 
Amazon 
Bookbub 
Facebook
Goodreads
Instagram
Pinterest
Twitter

Sign Me Up!

Newsletter
Facebook Street Team

Writers Needed; The Newsroom Quakes

The Tattler newsroom is in an uproar. Lady Caroline Warfield swept into the premises summoned—summoned!—by Sam Clemens. She slammed his door so hard the wall vibrated and now the staff: printers, correspondents, ink boys, paper sellers, and all held their breath. Did she know she would find that Mrs. Knight had already arrived? Of course she must know. The Bluestocking Belles communicate constantly.

Milly, the maid of all work, stood with her ear to the door. “She told him the Belles ‘have their hands full,’ and she said its his fault for printing all those letters attacking theirTeatime Tattler book, Follow Your Star Home.” Milly grinned over her shoulder. “Sam said, ‘Spelled yer names right din’t they?'”

The staff smirked in unison. Trust Sam. He taught them all publicity is good as long as they spell your name right. That tight-rumped clergy fellow Blowworthey set off a firestorm, but he brought the readers in didn’t he?

Milly leaned down again, “The Knight woman says the Belles have been so busy undoing the damage they didn’t get their usual story in today, and it serves us right.”

“Serves us right?” Ian Pennywhistle, a junior correspondent, demanded. He scribbled down the words. He’d been documenting the whole incident.

“She says we ought to recruit more Wednesday guest author stories and not leave it to them to do.” Pennywhistle wrote that down. Milly shrugged and leaned over to listen and was almost knocked over when the door swung open and the two women left.

“The ladies swanned out leaving Clemens in a fine rage…” Pennywhistle said, putting pen to paper. “I always wanted to write a sentence with ‘swanned,'” he said with self-satisfied glee.

Clemens glared at the young man. “We don’t get 1000 views and more a month because people like your vocabulary. They read to sop up the gossip behind authors’ books, the good stuff, not your drivel. We need more. The schedule is almost empty aside from two weeks in November. January’s even emptier. Bring me some writers.”

The newsroom emptied in a flash.

Read the high-performing articles below to find out what Sam loves to see in the Teatime Tattler, or sign up to write your own, and to advertise your book (new or one from your backlist).

The Mistress and The Wife — by Laura Libricz

A Guillotine Widow Takes Tea on the Isle of Guernsey — by Regan Walker

Lady Farrow Determined to See Her Daughter Wed — by Nadine Millard

The Mistress and the WifeThe Soldier’s Return, by Laura Libritz

A base-born son, a hasty marriageThe Bastard’s Iberian Bride, by Alina K. Field

Mrs Bingham tries againThe Rake and His Honour, by Beth Elliott

Be Careful What You Ask a Hero — Only a Hero Will Do, by Alanna Lucas

Duke in Disguise — To Dodge a Duke, by Naomi Bloom

Overheard at the Courtesan’s Ball — The Pleasure House Ball, by Suzi Love

 

The Wanderer Returns

We are delighted to report that Lord Wayshaw’s younger brother, Rafe, has returned to the magnificent Taverslow estate after his travels in Europe and a stay at the family’s villa in Umbria.

The great and the good of Somerset will no doubt look forward to hearing tales of his continental adventures, while the young ladies will surely hang on every word of the county’s most eligible bachelor. It is said that the dashing Mr. Wayshaw is even more handsome than when he left these shores almost a year ago, and that his already fine skills in riding and dancing have been greatly enhanced by his time in foreign lands.

The debutantes of Somerset and London will have to compete for his affections, however, which are apparently taken by his two charming Yorkshire Terriers, Pepe and Paolo. They may also have to win the approval of Mr. Wayshaw’s faithful valet, Simpkins, from whom he seems quite inseparable. Indeed, some have hinted that they may be more intimate than one would expect of a servant and master. Of course the Tattler would never spread such gossip, but if we hear more of Mr. Wayshaw’s romantic attachments, rest assured dear readers, you will be the very first to know.

About The Book

A Valet’s Duty

At the turn of the twentieth century, Henry Simpkins is a valet at Taverslow, the Earl of Wayshaw’s Somerset home. When the Earl’s younger brother, Rafe, arrives from his villa in Italy, Henry is given the task of caring for his mischievous dogs, Pepe and Paolo. As part of his duties, he also goes to Rafe’s room each night to tidy away his clothes.

One night Rafe asks Henry to go beyond his valet’s duty, to relieve his sexual tensions. Henry enjoys their increasingly intimate encounters, but he’s soon disturbed to find he feels more for Rafe than mere physical attraction. Now Henry faces a difficult decision. Can he remain in the same house as Rafe if his affections are not returned?

A Valet’s Duty is available at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2n1Ei0A

Excerpt

When he followed Lord Wayshaw up the grand marble staircase, Henry wondered what sort of man the brother might be. He seemed to have a sense of humour, since he hadn’t chastised Henry for scolding his precious dogs. Henry only hoped he required as little attention as the earl. Each night, he sorted his lordship’s clothes when he undressed, and took his orders for the following day. His night-time duties were over in a matter of minutes, and he could go outside for a smoke before he turned in.

Henry knocked on Rafe’s door and was somewhat taken aback, when the ornately carved oak opened to reveal Rafe already in his dressing gown.

“Come in, Simpkins. I won’t keep you long.” Henry followed Rafe into the bedroom. “Just tidy my clothes away, would you?”

Rafe settled himself on a sofa and chattered away, as some gentlemen do, while Henry picked up his garments from the floor, sorting those that could be worn again from those that needed to be washed. He listened to Rafe describe his villa in Italy, where he obviously spent much of the year. It sounded enchanting, with its endless sunshine and olive groves, but Henry couldn’t properly picture the place—he’d never been farther south than Dover.

The next few nights passed in a similar way, with Henry nodding and smiling, and sometimes laughing, when Rafe talked of his life in Umbria. Falling to sleep each night in his narrow bed, Henry found himself dreaming of orange trees and vineyards. Sometimes he even dreamt of Rafe wandering among them in the Mediterranean sun, but on the fourth night when Henry went to Rafe’s room, something had changed. Rafe seemed on edge as he opened the door, and he sat on the sofa in silence as Henry carried out his tasks. Henry started to leave, when Rafe spoke at last, an unfamiliar tension in his voice.

“Simpkins, could I ask you something?”

“Of course, sir.”

Rafe gazed intently at his fingernails, giving Henry no clue as to what he might ask. His eyes remained lowered as he made his enquiry.

“Simpkins, are you—are you the same kind of man as Oscar Wilde?”

About the Author

H. Lewis-Foster lives in the north of England and has always worked with books, in one form or another. A keen reader and writer of gay fiction, she is now the proud author of several short stories and a debut novel ‘Burning Ashes’.

Lewis-Foster likes to create characters that are talented, funny and quite often gorgeous, but who all have their faults and vulnerable sides, and she hopes that you’ll enjoy reading their stories as much as she loves writing them.

You can find out more about H. and her books on her website.

 

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