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Keeping Secrets

Julius Caesar Ibbotson, Skating on the Serpentine, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1796, watercolour, pen and grey ink (Eton College Collections)

Lady Prudence Danvers watched her sister Abigail from across the frozen Serpentine. Pouting, she skated her way over to a bench and plopped herself down. Tears blurred her vision. It was so unfair, she fumed. Why did Abigail constantly get the attention of all the eligible men?

She continued watching her sister and her companion skating side by side. Lieutenant Abernathy had all the qualifications of what made for a proper match. Handsome, well-mannered, and obviously he had enough money to attend all of Society’s most popular events despite his military career.

She followed him as he skated ahead of Abigail who began a conversation with some friends. Her laughter echoed on the wind causing Prudence’s mood to sour. The Lieutenant continued on without Abigail until he came close enough to Lady Constance Whittles to make her teeter on the edges of her skates. Lord Osgood took the lady’s arm to steady her even as the Lieutenant gave her a wicked grin and a tip of his cap. What appeared even more interesting was Lady Constance’s reaction as the lieutenant skated away.

Abigail was too occupied to notice the slight diversion of the Lieutenant’s affection but beamed at him when he rejoined her. The silly fool, Prudence mused even as her eyes narrowed with a devious thought. She began taking off her skates.

This tiny bit of tittle tattle was just the thing Mr. Clemens liked to receive for his Teatime Tattler. Prudence would receive a nice stipend for the information of this possible love triangle and this time she would not have to share the coins with Abigail. Giving no further thought of the disservice she might be doing to her sister, Prudence left the ice and made her way home to pen her missive to the editor.


This is an original piece with minor characters is Belle Sherry Ewing’s A Second Chance At Love that will release in the Belles’ box set, Fire & Frost on February 4th. Read on for the first encounter of Lord Osgood and Lady Constance:

Excerpt:

A rush of air left his lips as though he had been holding his breath while awaiting her answer. He stepped up to the desk and reached for her hand, kissing the air between his lips and her knuckles as any proper gentleman would. “You are very gracious, Constance. I must admit I was afraid you would hate me, considering how I left things between us.”

She gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “I could never hate you, Digby.” A blush rushed to her cheeks at the tone of her voice. They had been on a first name basis two years ago and somehow it seemed right to call him by his given name. My word, she had missed this man.

“Then perhaps you would allow me to escort you to a meeting at the Duchess of Haverford’s residence next week on the third. I understand she is in the process of forming several committees to organize an event for The Ladies’ Society for the Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans.”

Constance laughed. “You must be joking? Why, you will never get all that on any kind of a banner.”

Digby joined her and laughed. “I would never make up such a tall tale, my lady.”

“No one in their right mind would, although it does sound like a worthy cause.”

“I could not agree more, which is why I have offered my services to the gentleman’s auxiliary, whose responsibilities will include making sure you ladies are able to do your work in this dreadful weather. I knew this was just the sort of event that would be of interest to you.”

“You know me so well. I would be happy to accompany you, Digby.”

“Wonderful,” he replied with a smile. “If your aunt could join us and act as chaperone, then I could pick you both up around noon, if that is acceptable.”

“I will eagerly await next week, my lord.”

Digby took her hand again and bowed over it. “As will I, my lady.”

His gloved hand felt warm in hers. When Digby’s thumb gently caressed the back in a small circular motion, Constance’s heart leapt at the possibility that all was not lost. Her eyes went to his in a long lingering glance as pleasure swept across her entire being. She smiled, and he returned it with a smile of his own. Constance could not remember when she had ever been this happy… until the spell was interrupted. They quickly broke apart.

“I say, Lady Constance, is this gentleman bothering you?” Lieutenant Abernathy bellowed as he left the tearoom and rushed to her side. The few patrons who escaped the fog outside looked up from their books at the disturbance he was causing.

“Not at all and please lower your voice,” Constance advised sternly before remembering her manners. “My apologies. Lieutenant Abernathy may I present Lord Osgood, who is an old friend.”

The two men shook hands but, from the looks they exchanged, neither cared for the other.


A Second Chance At Love in
Fire & Frost: A Bluestocking Belles Collection
Pre-order now for only $0.99!

Can the bittersweet frost of lost love be rekindled into a burning flame?

Viscount Digby Osgood returns to London after a two-year absence, planning to avoid the woman he courted and then left. Surely she has moved on with her life; even married by now. A bit of encouragement from a friend, however, pushes him to seek the lady out. Can she ever forgiven him and give them a second chance at love?

Lady Constance Whittles has only cared for one man in her life. Even after he broke her heart, it remains fixed on him. Another man tries to replace him, but she soon learns she can never feel for him a shadow of what she still feels for Digby. One brief encounter with Digby confirms it; she is more than willing to forgive him. Can they truly take up where they left off?

Charity projects and a Frost Fair on the Thames bring them together, but another stands in their way. Will he tear them apart?

Buy Links for Fire & Frost:
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About Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing:

Sherry Ewing 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.

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The Sad Fate of Chunee

Editorial comment from S. Clemens

No one in London can be unfamiliar with the circumstances of the death of one of our most beloved and renowned citizens, the elephant Chunee, who Wednesday last met his fatal end at the Exeter Change in such a barbarous manner that many were moved to write letters on his behalf. The Tattler has learned the identity of one lady of quality, whose letter we reprint here. While we must applaud the lady’s sentiments on behalf of this noble creature, we must also wonder if so outspoken a young woman as Lady Emily Radstock will ever find a husband among the gentry and nobility of England. Rumor has it that she is one of the financial backers of Sir Arthur Broome’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Sir Arthur currently resides in Marshalsea Prison for debt.

Chunee

Sir:

The facts in the death of Chunee are so well known as to need no recounting. Thousands in London have seen the prints of his cruel slaughter. His agony at the hands of those on whom he long depended for his sustenance and whose pockets were lined with the proceeds of exhibiting him to the public is indefensible.

His handlers’ inability to consider his needs and to foresee a time when distress of body and spirit would render him a danger to himself and others and to plan accordingly for his care and ultimately for his end brings into question the fitness of human persons for keeping any wild animals in captivity, confined against their nature in cages, to be stared at by the masses with no freedom to act in accord with the promptings of their natures.

It is time to close the Exeter Change and all similar institutions whose indifference to the well-being of their charges is a stain on the honor of our city.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

E. Radstock

About the Book: The Spy’s Guide to Seduction

Weeks from her twenty-ninth birthday, Lady Emily Radstock receives from her mother a little blue book, The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London. Outraged at her mother’s attempt to push her out of the nest, Emily declares she’ll marry the first imbecile she meets. Overhearing the beautiful heiress, Baronet Sir Ajax Lynley, newest gentleman spy in the Pantheon Club, takes her at her word. From the moment their engagement begins, Emily finds herself intrigued by her fiancé, a man who encourages her daring and who offers a most seductive partnership in spy-catching. When mounting danger and an uncanny echo of his painful past lead Lynley to abandon the partnership, Emily has to put aside the hurt and humiliation of a missing fiancé to save her partner in spying and seduction. A 2019 Library Journal Top Pick in Romance.

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About the Author

Kate Moore taught English lit to generations of high school students, who are now her Facebook friends, while she not-so-secretly penned Romances. In Kate’s stories an undeniable mutual attraction brings honorable, edgy loners and warm, practical women into a circle of love in Regency England or contemporary California. A Golden Heart, Golden Crown, and Book Buyers Best award winner and three-time RITA finalist, Kate lives north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, toys for visiting grandkids, and miles of crowded bookshelves.

Kate@KateMooreAuthor.com

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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.

BUY LINKS:

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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:

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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:

Website & Books 
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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!

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Facebook Street Team

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