Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Tag: free stories for newsletter subscribers

Misplaced or Runaway Fiancé?

A friend of The Teatime Tattler in Shropshire sent word this week of a delicious bit of naughtiness. Lady B—’s cook’s cousin’s daughter serves as an upstairs maid in the house of a rather notorious baroness so we know this report to be true. The baroness and her nephew, we’re told, departed the manor in a rush last week in pursuit of the nephew’s fiancé, who had disappeared. How, we may ask, does on misplace a fiancé.

We will not mention the baroness by name, but she is well known as the daughter of a wealthy mill owner, mills well known for their ghastly employment practice and filthy premises. The woman, Lady B— insists is a jumped-up mushroom who bought a titled husband and now— But perhaps that is a story for another day. Suffice to say, the young woman perhaps had her reasons for departing such a place in a hurry.

We would have left it at that, but one of Lady B—’s happened to follow a similar route and reports that the baroness and the nephew inquired after this person all along the road from under Wrexham to Birmingham and back. One might have ignored the incident except at every stop they queried not only about a gently bred—but distraught—young lady and—this is the important part—a shabby coachman. What sort of well brought up innocent runs off with a coachman? Perhaps she’s no better than she should be. Or perhaps the cad has nefarious designs on an innocent.

Kindly forward any word about the fugitive pair to our offices in London.

About the Story, “The Fugitive Fiancé”

What can a penniless orphan do, when faced with a malodorous baron and an authoritarian baroness? She can run, that’s what.

Alone and without family, Alice Pennysmith puts up with a lot: an unpaid position as companion, waiting on a demanding baroness, people mangling her name, the scorn of superior servants… She almost lets herself be pushed into marriage with the vile Reggie, but his behavior is the last straw. How can she escape?

With his year of service to at an end, Grant Lambert is eager to leave his contract with Lord Reginald Buffton, Baron Albright——a foolish agreement to settle a bet. He already found far better, well-paying, respectable employment. He just can’t bring himself to leave the charming Miss Pennysmith in the clutches of his despicable employer. There’s only one thing for it—he’ll have to take her with him, even if he has to “borrow” the baron’s carriage to do it.


“The Fugitive Fiancé was written to order from story element specified by a contest winner. It was given away to subscribers of Caroline Warfield’s newsletter. She gives original stories to her subscribers two to three times a year. To receive this one and others, subscribe to her newsletter:

About the Author

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she is now a writer of historical romance, enamored of owls, books, history, and beautiful gardens, who sits in an office surrounded by windows and 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.


Amazon Page

Good Reads






A family feud in London’s ballrooms

The Earl of M. has returned to England, after fifteen years overseas. This paper understands that he has been touring Europe, the Levant, and even the East since he was abducted from England when he was a mere schoolboy.

Our younger readers may not remember the rancorous battle when his father died; his stepmother and fraternal uncle claiming custody, and his maternal uncle insisting that his rivals wanted the young earl dead.No evidence was ever offered, except for accidents such as any befall any twelve-year-old. But then he disappeared, the only evidence of his continuing existence quarterly letters to his agents and lawyers.

With the Earl back in Society, all eyes are on him and the two from whom he fled: the Dowager Countess of M. and her constant companion, her husband’s younger brother Lord D. P. If these two are disappointed that the younger man survived the many rigours of foreign travel, they hid it well at the Winshire Ball last night.

And if the Earl blames the older couple for the two unusual accidents and the street attack he has suffered since setting foot in London three weeks ago, he gave no sign of it.

Still such brushes with eternity must be giving him pause. He is understood to be looking for a bride. We look to see him apply the lessons in courting that we believe him to have learned in far-off climes.


This piece of gossip belongs to a short story I’m writing for my newsletter subscribers. I send out six free stories a year, and I post them on my website in password protected files open to my subscribers. Below is an extract from the beginning of the story; I hope you find it intriguing. Subscribe to my newsletter if you’d like to read the rest of it when I send out my November announcements (which will be about the publication of two more books: another Christmas novella and a collection of all four of my stand-alone Christmas novellas at a discount price for the four).

If you’re into Facebook parties, I’ll be talking about both publications (and others) at Caroline Warfield’s Celebration of Holiday Reading today, and at the Bluestocking Belles’ Never Too Late Release Party on 4 November. Hope to see you there.


The Mouse Fights Back

Tiberius thought of his wife as Mouse.

He’d had a mouse once; a little wild creature that he’d rescued from his step-mother’s cat and carried off to the folly that he had been allowed to make his own because his step-mother did not care for wildernesses.

There, he’d nursed its wounds and released it, and for the rest of his long summer holiday, Mouse had eaten the food he left for it, occasionally even venturing from hiding while he was still in the room, though it would scurry away if he approached.

Miss Mouse—Miss Chausse was her real name, but he misheard it when he was introduced—had the same frightened, frozen stance when he first saw her, at the elbow of the fat sleek cat who he later learned to be her aunt, afraid to move lest her torturer stop pretending to ignore her and returned to her vicious games.

He wasn’t here in Society to rescue mice, however, so he moved on to the next lady on his list. With his uncle determined to step into his shoes, Tiberius needed to fill his nursery, and he couldn’t make a start on that without first obtaining a wife.

The search went poorly,not least because Mouse kept intruding. Not by design. She did her best to remain invisible. But Tiberius noticed whenever she was present and looked for her when she wasn’t.

Wondering at himself, he once asked her to dance, but the experiment was not a success. She wouldn’t look at him, stumbled when he spoke, and mumbled when she answered his questions. Still, she was graceful when he gave up conversing, and he fancied she gentled to his touch as they moved through the figures of the dance.

He might have tried again, except that he saw the fear in her face when he returned her to her aunt; saw her shrink into herself when another gentleman took his example and asked for her to partner him. The aunt’s verbal onslaught when she returned from this second set left Mouse white-faced and fighting to hold back tears.

Tiberius could not solve her problems. He had troubles enough of his own, and needed a strong-minded wife who could protect and defend the new earl if one of the murder plots succeeded before Tiberius could prove that his uncle was the mastermind behind them. Him and dear step-Mama who, it transpired, was an intimate friend of Mouse’s aunt. Two cats together.

Still, he stepped in to rescue the poor girl from the claws of some cats-in-training outside the ladies’ retiring room one day, and another time punched a known debaucher in the nose and escorted Mouse out of the garden she had unaccountably entered.

“You should not have been out there alone,” he scolded, keeping his voice as calm and gentle as he could with the anger and outrage still surging in his veins.

“My aunt–” Mouse coloured and stammered. Her aunt would be angry?

“I will not tell her, Miss Chausse.” He meant to reassure, and instead received an indignant glare.

“She took me outside. She left me with… That man.”

His hand convulsed on hers and she trembled, impelling him to gentle his touch. “The nasty old cat!”

His indignation must have given her courage, because she burst into an explanation, admirably succinct. “She is afraid I might marry, and remove my money from her grasp, and so she seeks to have me ruined, though she has not thought about how that might curtail her social life. But aunt is not clever, just cunning.”

The speech was the longest he’d heard from her, and full of intelligence and even a certain bitter humour. “But surely…” Tiberius stopped, uncertain how to say that she must be in her mid-20s, with the spectre of marriage behind her.

“I am twenty-two, but my inheritance is in trust until I am thirty. And no one has shown any interest in me in five years since my come out until you… That is, until this year.”

Ah. Tiberius had put her at risk by dancing with her. How our good deeds come back to haunt us.

“I am sorry,” he offered.

Mouse did not pretend to misunderstand him. “You are not responsible. You did not make aunt a bully or my trustee a thief. Or me too much of a coward to stand up to them.”

They had stopped on the terrace, far enough apart from others for this private conversation, but in full decorous sight of at least a score of people, and there her aunt found them, Tiberius’s step mother and uncle at her elbow.

“Where have you been, you wicked girl?”


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén