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The Marquess Loses Control

Gibraltar, November 1818

My dear Mr. Clemens,

We were forced to pause our journey to Madras in this place for repairs, which I must say are taking much longer than they ought. The weather is pleasant, the locals backward, and the monkeys an utter nuisance.

The Respectable English Company is scant. Imagine my delight when the HMS Boreas came into port bearing the Earl of Chadbourn and the Marquess of Glenaire. I was even pleased to have the company of the marquess’s brother-in-law, Mr. Mallet. At least, I would be pleased if we didn’t have to endure the presence of That Woman.

We have taken rooms at the best hotel, and so were in the entrance preparing for a leisurely ramble about the island when the party arrived, all looking rather the worst for having suffered some sort of ordeal. Coraires wee blamed. (Our captain assured me that reports of the Barbary menace are exaggerated, so really…)

The earl and Mr. Mallet appeared well enough, but Marquess of Glenaire wore a Lieutenant’s tunic, a bit too small, and trousers which could only be described as ragged. When I could not refrain from my natural horror, the marquess subjected me to one of his famous icy stare. Dressed like that!

But I digress. That Woman, who accompanied them, was a shocking sight. She wore some sort of native dress—African or what not—close to rags. In a respectable hotel. I can tell you they were whisked up the stairs and out of sight quickly, but not before the bundle carried by the marquess himself gave out a loud squawk. You will be surprised, good sir, to hear that the Marquess of Glenaire, that bright light of society, known to one an all as the Marble Marquess for perfecttion of his grooming and manners, carried an infant up those stairs.

Never have I seen such scurrying. Bath water went up. Tea went up. Platters of food ascended the stairs. Clothes were procured. I know this because I Iingered on a comfortable divan near the entrance. Eventually the entire party descended, clothed, thank the Almighty, in respectable, if rather unfashionable, Western dress.

I, of course paid my respects to the earl and marquess and begged an introduction. Chadbourn appeared friendly enough. When That Woman was introduced as the Marchioness of Glenaire, my jaw dropped. I was unaware there even was such a person. The marquess demonstrated his famous stare. The word “ice” doesn’t begin to describe it.

Next season’s crop of debutantes will go into decline to know Glenaire is no longer available. And yet one wonders. There was no notice in the papers of any such marriage when we embarked. Yet here they came bearing a baby, and looking like savages. Whispers among the staff were that they had been held prisoners by the Barbary ruffians. A normal woman would have perished at the disgrace, but That Woman appeared to be in robust health for one who so recently gave birth. She looked down at me with every sign of superiority.

There was one other oddity. My maid happened to attending to an errand and saw  them leave the hotel. They went directly to the English church and were seen entering the rectory. One wonders, dear sir. If that infant is a boy, he will be heir to a dukedom in due time. One wouldn’t want questions about his origins to circulate.

Make of that what you will, Mr. Clemens, but leave my name far from the matter. One wouldn’t want to earn the enmity of the marquess.

Lady X

About the Book

If women were as easily managed as the affairs of state—or the recalcitrant Ottoman Empire—Richard Hayden, Marquess of Glenaire, would be a happier man. As it was, the creatures made hash of his well-laid plans and bedeviled him on all sides…

 

So it begins.

Lily Thornton came home from Saint Petersburg in pursuit of marriage. She wants a husband and a partner, not an overbearing, managing man. She may be “the least likely candidate to be Marchioness of Glenaire,” but her problems are her own to fix, even if those problems include both a Russian villain and an interfering Ottoman official.

Given enough facts, Richard can fix anything. But protecting that impossible woman is proving to be almost as hard as protecting his heart, especially when Lily’s problems bring her dangerously close to an Ottoman revolution. As Lily’s personal problems entangle with Richard’s professional ones, and she pits her will against his, he chases her across the pirate-infested Mediterranean. Will she discover surrender isn’t defeat? It might even have its own sweet reward.

As one reviewer said, “There is nothing so  entertaining as watching a man who is always in control, lose that control.” (Night Owl Reviews)

About the Author

Caroline Warfield, traveler, adventurer, lover of owls and other folks’ gardens, writes family centered romance from her lair in the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania. She is a Bluestocking Belle. She is currently  finishing the tale of Glenaire’s nephew and namesake, Richard “Aeneas” Mallet, eager to make his fame in Egypt,  and no more willing to fall in with his uncle’s schemes than his mother or his aunt. Watch for The Price of Glory later this year.

A Grasping Interloper?

Gentle Readers,

Far be it from me, your trusted informant on all matters worth knowing to keep disparaging an honorable gentleman for his youthful foibles, but it would seem the Earl of Bainbridge has succumbed to the lure of face paint and a pair of well-turned ankles once more. Indeed, they are the very same pair that drove him from England’s shores before he ascended to his current title. While his father no doubt applauds his son’s recent endeavors amongst the corps de ballet from beyond the grave, no doubt the present earl’s grandfather takes a considerably dimmer view of recent events and of the lovely Miss Nettie Pomeroy, darling of the Arcadian music hall.

Loyal readers will remember the stir Miss Pomeroy created several years ago when, as one Miss Venetia Crawley, the natural daughter of the former Duke of Graydon, she brazenly attended Lord and Lady Esterly’s ball on the arm of young Bainbridge (then Viscount Dutton). Rumor had it that without the swift intervention of his closest friend, the current Duke of Graydon and Miss Pomeroy’s half-brother, her duplicity would have escaped detection and the Bainbridge earldom would have discovered a veritable cuckoo in its nest. Thankfully, she was routed in time and disappeared to parts unknown at the time of this printing.

While it is understandable how a young man can easily be led astray by a pretty face one would think that an older, more experienced man should have grown immune to that same face. Sadly, that has not been the case with Lord Bainbridge. How must the current Duke of Graydon be feeling about having this blight on his family turn up after believing himself well-shed of the grasping interloper? One must also ask about the mysterious goings on at the Arcadian as well and the sinister dealings of her owner, Morgan O’Banyon. Just what is the truth about his relationship with the fair Miss Pomeroy?

Never fear dear readers! Your intrepid informer shall keep you apprised as I uncover the answers to all your questions.

Humbly Yours,

S. Clemens, Esq.

About the Book

Caelan Hennesy meets the young woman of his dreams in a Paris museum. She is educated, beautiful and refined – everything his family and society require of his bride.
Venetia believes she has found her prince, and she is certain that their love is strong enough to overcome the scandal of her birth. Venetia is the lovechild of a duke and his commoner mistress. When her half-truths and lies of omission are exposed, a disillusioned Caelan walks away, leaving Venetia at the mercy of a ruthless enemy.
Nine years later Caelan, now the Earl of Bainbridge, discovers Venetia is now a dazzling music hall dancer named Nettie Pomeroy. Nettie wants nothing to do with the man who walked away from her. Still, neither one of them can deny the passion or the love that continues to bind them together. As Nettie and Cal continue fighting their feelings, an enemy draws closer determined to bring harm to people Caelan cares about. Will Caelan be able to protect the one woman he refuses to surrender again, and will Nettie trust him enough to open her heart for a second chance at love?

~Excerpt~

FranceWinter, 1856

It was hot and difficult to breath stuffed halfway into the heavy, canvas sack. Her legs and feet remained cold though, because she still wore her gauzy costume from tonight’s performance. Venetia had fought the men who’d abducted her, kicking and screaming for help only to have a large, meaty hand clamp over her mouth, and then came the sack. She’d had a short burst of satisfaction when the wooden block in one of her toe shoes connected squarely with the twig and berries belonging to the other one of her captors. He’d threatened to hurl her against the wall, but the man with the meaty hands threatened him with far worse if he harmed her. Now she lay in the back of a cart where they’d tossed her hours ago, her arms and legs bound tightly together, a foul-tasting gag in her mouth, sick with fright.

There was no question in her mind that the new Duke of Graydon had found her. She’d thought taking a stage name would offer enough protection, but clearly, she’d been wrong. The luck Venetia found on her arrival in Paris had completely deserted her today. First, her grand debut in the lead role for tonight’s performance of ‘Giselle,’ hadn’t been good enough to secure a permanent place outside the corps de ballet, shattering her dreams of one day becoming a premiere danseuse, and now Graydon and his mother had hired these two ruffians to abduct her. She would likely be killed and her body thrown into the sea.

After an eternity, the cart came to a stop and Venetia found herself being lifted and carried with extraordinary gentleness. She struggled in the arms holding her, earning a harsh obscenity from the man she’d previously kicked, but the ruffian carrying her merely leaned closely and whispered to her. “Don’t thrash around now, little blossom. Ye might do yourself an injury.” She heard the sounds of raucous laughter and cheers, of tankards being clashed together along with the smells of ale and wine. She was transferred to the other man who roughly threw her over his shoulder before climbing a set of stairs. A door creaked open and suddenly Venetia felt herself fly through the air and abruptly land on a bed.

“Why’d ye go and do that, Jeb? You could a hurt her!” The gentler of her captors eased her into a sitting position inside the stifling darkness of her sack. “Don’t you worry,” his disembodied voice assured her. “Won’t nobody here hurt ye.”

“Are you so certain of that, Luther?” came a cold, low voice from across the room, and Venetia’s throat contracted painfully around a hard lump of absolute terror at the sound of it.

Available through Amazon Kindle and print

About the Author

Stephanie Patterson began her writing career at age three by designing her own symbol alphabet to represent words and emotions. Writing has always been her first love, which prompted her to begin her first novel, a civil war epic at the age of eight. Her debut romance, “Playing for Keeps,” was published under the pen name, Stephanie Salinas. “The Woman in Question,” a contemporary romantic thriller published under her own name, followed a couple of years later.

Patterson’s series, “Season of the Furies,” a Victorian romance trilogy about three, beautiful debutants who must atone for a despicable act, is now complete. 2020 saw the publication of the first book in her new series, “Tales from the Arcadian,” which follows the performers of a London music hall in 1862. Book one, “Bobby Dazzler,” is currently available in both e-book and print editions.


Patterson is a resident of northern Oregon and comes from a criminal defense background where she worked on all types of cases from petty theft to capital murder and murder for hire in both the state and federal criminal systems. When not writing, she practices and teaches the ancient divination art of cartomancy – a fancy way of saying tarot reading, as well as works on her community’s month-long Halloween festival, ‘Spirit of Halloweentown.’™  

EMAIL: stephaniepattersonwriter@yahoo.com

WEBSITE:  www.stephaniepattersonauthor.com

FaceBook Page: Stephanie Patterson Writes Books

Scandal in Venice

Baden, Baden 1818

My Dear Mr. Clemens,

I have another tidbit that may be of interest, you darling man. This one is a bit more explosive than some of the other bits I’ve gathered in my travels. I count on you to mask the lady’s name when you publish in your delicious newssheet, for she is young and may yet require the tattered remnants of her reputation.

I reached Geneva in September and to my delight encountered my dear friend Lady Florence Tyree. She fell on me, relieved to have a sensible companion in which to confide. The poor woman had been dragooned into accompanying her niece, Lady Charlotte Tyree when the girl imposed herself on her brother, the Earl of Ambler who by rights ought to be completing his Grand Tour accompanied only by his tutor free to do whatever it is young men get up to on the continent (I don’t need to be explicit with you, dear friend!).

Lady Florence had reached utter weariness with the boy’s behavior, it being as wild as may be expected, abetted by his tutor no doubt. The dear woman fears for the girl who seems to have attempted to absorb every work of art or culture to be found on the continent, in an excess of learning that we all know can only bring feverish distress to a young lady’s mind, causing who knows what enfeeblement of her faculties.

No amount of begging on the part of dear Lady Florence convinced the girl to take her ease at some of the more pleasant gardens or porticoes of the city. When the young people announced they were preparing to move on over those daunting mountains into Italy, Florence reached the end of her patience. She and I decided we needed the restorative spa at Baden, which we are entirely in agreement is precisely what Lady Charlotte needs.

Alas the young woman prove intractable in this matter as well. When Lady Florence forbade her Italy and announce she herself would accompany me to Baden, Lady Charlotte informed her she would leave for Venice with her brother.

Venice! I need not tell you Bryon himself is there. Who knows what sort of immorality goes on, and the young woman insisted she would travel there without a chaperone. Lady Florence declared she would report this to the guardians of this pair of young people who would undoubtedly demand she return to London (leaving the boy on his own to continue his tour, of course). What did Lady Charlotte declare but that she didn’t care. By the time any such demands from the guardians reached her she would be in Rome at last. She has some notion that her life will be poorer forever if she doesn’t see Rome.

I tremble to tell you, good sir, that the following morning we awoke to find the young people gone. My beloved Lady Florence was prostrate. She came to this lovely spa with me to recover. Word reached us yesterday via friends traveling north from there that Lady Charlotte is indeed in Venice, and that the young earl is running with the wildest of crowds exposing his sister to no end of debauchery. We disregarded hints she has taken residence with an Italian gentleman.

Be kind in your publication. She is young.

Your good friend and supporter, Lady Horsham

About the Book: Lady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil

Love is the best medicine and the sweetest things in life are worth the wait, especially at Christmastime in Venice for a stranded English Lady and a handsome physician.

Lady Charlotte clings to one dream—to see the splendor of Rome before settling for life as the spinster sister of an earl. But now her feckless brother forces her to wait again, stranded in Venice when he falls ill, halfway to the place of her dreams. She finds the city damp, moldy, and riddled with disease.
As a physician, Salvatore Caresini well knows the danger of putrid fever. He lost his young wife to it, leaving him alone to care for their rambunctious children. He isn’t about to let the lovely English lady risk her life nursing her brother.
But Christmas is coming, that season of miracles, and with it, perhaps, lessons for two lonely people: that love heals the deepest wounds and sometimes the deepest dreams aren’t what we expect.

https://www.amazon.com/Charlottes-Christmas-Vigil-Caroline-Warfield-ebook/dp/B0758NLYV2/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-charlottes-christmas-vigil-caroline-warfield/1127062287

and for other formats:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/745607

About the Author

Award winning author of family centered romance set in the Regency and Victorian eras, Caroline Warfield has been many things—including a Bluestocking Belle. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Find her here:

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Mistletoe and Cold Feet

Tender Readers,

The Teatime Tattler office has bombarded with reports of brides developing cold feet and late nerves, calling off, slipping off, and even running off.

We understand that naval Lieutenant Redepenning—yes one of those Redepennings—has chased after the admiral’s daughter pulling her out of scrapes since she was a nipper. Still, one didn’t expect a young man of his standing to pursue the young lady across half of England only to end up at her aunt’s in Oxford. We understand there was gingerbread involved somehow but the details are sketchy.

As to Lady Julia Tate, the world can guess that Oliver Stanton pursues the woman  for her money. Still, we heard she’d accepted him, and that the marriage would take place. But now she’s gone, and no one knows where. Fantastically, we heard she fled to the Americans, or to the antipodes, or even—we laugh to contemplate it—the future. Wherever she is, it appears Stanton has gone after her. Should we wish a fortune hunter well or no?

The Earl of Chadbourn spent this season rusticating near Wheatton in Wiltshire. Rumors from there are that a local squire’s daughter caught his eye, but she played coy. One hears there are family secrets in his sister’s household. Can they have driven the chit away?

Even vicars’ daughters are not immune, as Mr. Templeton, he that has the holding in Edington, discovered to his distress. His Margaret seemed likely to marry Captain Morledge, an perfectly respectable union, until Viscount Beacham appeared on the scene. Could a man of his standing be serious? Whatever the case, she went missing.  One can only shake one’s head.

About the Book

Holidays, relatives, pressure to marry—sometimes it is all too much. Is it any wonder a woman may need to escape? The heroines in this collection of stories aren’t afraid to take matters into their own hands when they’ve had enough.

The Ultimate Escape, by Susana Ellis

On the eve of her wedding, Julia needs to take a moment to consider what she is doing, and where better than 100 years in the past? Unfortunately, Oliver finds a way to chase her through time.

Under the Mistletoe, by Sherry Ewing

Margaret Templeton will settle for Captain Morledge’s hand in marriage, until she sees the man she once loved at her second-best bridegroom’s Christmas party. 

Gingerbread Bride, by Jude Knight

Travelling with her father’s fleet has not prepared Mary Pritchard for London. When she strikes out on her own, she finds adventure, trouble, and her girlhood hero, riding once more to her rescue.

A Dangerous Nativity, by Caroline Warfield

With Christmas coming, can the Earl of Chadbourn repair his widowed sister’s damaged estate, and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain? 

These stories are republished here at 20% of the cost of collecting them all from each individual author

Two bonus short stories round out the collection.

Buy here!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3lQYfU8

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A Country Wedding

Clemens,

Regarding the recent marriage of the Earl of Chadbourn to that country mouse who appears to be some sort of relative of his late brother-in-law, I found the affair to be respectable enough but woefully modest for a man of his stature. I suppose some find a village church wedding charming, but your readers would no doubt prefer to hear about a fully realized society affair at Saint George, Hanover Square, or even Saint Paul’s. Still, I managed to unearth a few tidbits to report, per your request.

The Landrum family was out in force of course, even Lady Flora who so scandalously married in a rush. There was much talk about the hurry, because the family was in mourning for her sister’s husband. Neither she nor her new spouse, Lord Ethan Alcott—who makes no effort to disguise the obvious deformity he brought back from war—appeared the slightest concerned about talk. Her attendence was particularly shocking, when her obvious queasiness gave evidence that she anticipates an interesting event.

Of more interest to your readers, Lord Ethan’s brother, the very eligible Viscount Penrhyd, who is after all the heir to a Marquess, attended. He escaped entanglement last Season and showed no particular preference for any lady at the wedding, so the hopeful young women of London may take heart.

The ladies may also note that the Marquess of Glenaire stood up with Chadbourn. The man would be an breathtaking catch for any hopeful debutante—rich as Croesus, heir to the Duke of Sudbury who claims precedence following only the royal dukes, and well to look at—but alas an elusive one. Some find him as handsome as sin; I for one find him cold. Those icy blue eyes quite give one a shudder. I would warn any young lady under my patronage to avoid him.

Glenaire’s entire family attended the wedding. That the Duke and Duchess of Sudbury honored Chadbourn with their company was no surprise, given the son’s friendship. Their youngest daughter, who recently completed her second season (perhaps third, I quite forget) without a betrothal, spent the affair trying to attract the attention of Penrhyd with little success. The presence of their oldest (and let me say quite unmarried) daughter, Lady Georgiana, was the biggest surprise. They call her The Recluse of Cambridge, and she rarely appears in society.  She appeared every inch the spinster she is.

Baron Ross’s rakehell son, the Honorable James Heyworth managed to behave like a gentleman, though he imbibed a bit much. One recalls that he, Glenaire, and Chadbourn, were fast friends before war with the despicable French sent most of them off. It caused me to recall their other friend, Andrew Mallet. He lacked the connections of the other three, but went about in society with them when the four came down from university. He too went off to war and came back rather sadly scarred.

I raise his name because the presence of the others and Lady Georgiana brought to mind some old gossip. It has been several years, but I seem to recall rumors regarding the duke’s daughter and the scholar’s son. Odd that he didn’t attend, and she did. Plus, there is the Cambridge connection for I am positive he grew up there. You might want to put some of your people on it to see if there is something delicious to uncover.

I endured the wedding for your sake, my dear Clemens, overrun as it was with small boys and odd servants. (Chadbourn does hire a peculiar collection of scarred, limping, and deaf retainers, former soldiers all. Admirable, but unpleasant for his guests.) In any case I trust you to keep my name off any items you decide to publish. I do appreciate your little gifts. Leaving a packet at Williamson’s Lending Library as you have before, makes for a pleasant surprise.

Your devoted friend,

Lady Albright

About the Book

There are indeed grounds for the rumors about Lady Georgiana and Andrew Mallet. Their story is in Dangerous Works.

A little Greek is one thing; the art of love is another. 

Only one man ever tried to teach Lady Georgiana Hayden both. Now she has taken on a body of work; translating the poetry of the women of ancient Greece. If it takes a scandalous affair to teach her what she needs to complete her work, she will risk it.

Major Andrew Mallet returns to Cambridge a battle-scarred hero and would be scholar. His last encounter with Georgiana cost him eleven years of his life.  Determined to avoid her, he seeks work to heal his soul and make his scholar father proud. The work she offers risks his career, his peace of mind, and (worst of all) his heart. Can he protect himself from a woman who almost destroyed him? Does he want to?

FREE with Kindle Unlimited or for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Works-Caroline-Warfield-ebook/dp/B00N9KHDWQ/

As to the Earl of Chadbourn, the story of he and his “country mouse” can be found in A Dangerous Nativity, which is always ***FREE*** at various retailers.

Lady Flora, Lord Ethan, and Viscount Penryth appear in “Lord Ethan’s Honor,” in the Bluestocking Belles’ Collection, Fire & Frost.

The very elusive Marquess of Glenaire finally gets taken down a peg or two in Dangerous Weakness, also FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author

Caroline Warfield, Bluestocking Belle and lover of romance, writes stories set in the Regency and Victorian eras from her desk in the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania when she isn’t traveling the world with her Beloved looking for interesting places to send her characters.

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