To the editor, Teatime Tattler,
Dear Honoured Sir,
Though it is not in my gentle nature to speak ill of those in the highest of society’s ranks, I feel it my duty to report a most shocking miscarriage of justice. The Amesbury family, those who are relations of my lord, the Earl of Tarrington, may not be all they seem. In fact, they are, in fact, secretly villains. You see, good sir, I have information, nay, verily proof, that while they appear all that is proper and noble, with two of the family’s sons serving His Majesty’s’ army and navy, scandal and danger follow in their wake.
You see, sir, I know for a fact that the current earl married his wife under false pretenses almost too shocking to utter. Although they seem blissfully wedded now, they had most unbecoming beginnings including a false identity. Is their marriage even valid? Is their infant son a legitimate heir?
As far as the second son, it’s a well-known fact that he served as a privateer during the war. However, I have it on good authority that he was, in truth, a pirate! He was captured by His Majesty’s Navy, stood trial, and nearly met his doom at the gallows. Oh, he used an assumed name—that seems to be a family trait—but I know it was him.
The third son, alas, has always been the black sheep. He shuns society, snubbing conventions, and wearing shockingly low apparel. But this is not all; he even works—works!—with the Bow Street officers to solve cases that are best left to those of the working class. To be fair, he has saved lives, but has also taken a good many under the excuse that it was all in the line of duty. But does that include shooting peers without trial?
Though hailed as society’s golden child, the youngest Amesbury son, who most closely resembles the late earl, has the most shocking secret of all. He not only may have participated in arranging the death of a peer with the help of his brothers, but more shocking still, he even married the widow within mere weeks of the ghastly deed.
Now, I ask you, does this not bear further inquiry into the Amesbury family? Do we demand that this family answer to the laws of justice or do we let them live above the law?
The Amesbury sisters, it seems, are perfectly respectable, although one is estranged from her husband, and the other, a bluestocking spinster. This suggests that something went terribly wrong in their upbringing, does it not?
With regards to the men (I refuse to use the word “gentlemen”) of this family, I beseech you to consider my words. Since Bow Street has discounted my concerns—likely due to their familiarity with the aforementioned brother who works with Bow Street—perhaps this public revelation will put pressure on the law to do the right thing. If nothing else, the opinion of society may deliver its own form of justice.
A concerned neighbor
About the Book
The Stranger She Married
When her parents and only brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor’s prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.
Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he’d thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer’s attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger of all, a danger to her heart.
As Cole looked down into Alicia Palmer’s face, he knew of a surety she was worth any risk. She touched him in a place he’d thought long dead.
A younger man wearing a saucy grin approached Miss Palmer. “Did you save me a dance, Lissie?”
Cole’s initial irritation for the man’s cheekiness faded to puzzlement. He knew him from somewhere. A vague unease arose.
When the young man’s gaze moved to Cole, he paled visibly. “You!”
Miss Palmer gasped. “Robert Palmer, where are your manners?”
Of course. Robert Palmer. From London. Cold dread trickled across his heart as he considered the ramifications.
Palmer pinned him with a dangerous glare. “Stay away from my cousin.”
“Your cousin?” Cole looked from him to the lovely Miss Palmer and understanding dawned. He cursed under his breath. He hadn’t been aware Armand Palmer had a sister. Not that he’d bothered to find out. The possible ramifications took a more serious turn.
Miss Palmer sent Cole a look of apology and turned to her cousin. “Robert, explain yourself.”
In a cold sweat, Cole waited for her condemning stare.
Palmer trembled in rage. He spoke quietly, but each word shot through Cole like bullets fired at close range. “He’s the scoundrel who shot your twin.”
About the Author
Multi-award-winning author of more than twenty best-selling Regency Historical Romances, Donna Hatch is a hopeful romantic and an adventurer at heart. Each book she writes is filled with wit and heart and plenty of swoon-worthy romance. Donna sings, plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Her family, including six children and two cats, recently left their native Arizona for the US Pacific coast. No matter where they live, she and her husband of over twenty years are proof that there truly is a happily ever after.
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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2072970.Donna_HatchAmazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Donna-Hatch/e/B002BMG9KK