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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.

An Earl Scandalously Kisses an Innocent Miss

Dear Lovely Readers:

A most scandalous display of courtship occurred yesterday on the stoop of Lady R’s townhome. The dashing Lord B swept the innocent debutante Lady D into his embrace for a scorching kiss. The neighbor’s windows steamed over from the passionate heat. It was said that the lady did not protest the affectionate gesture, but wrapped her arms around the gentleman pulling him closer. The kiss was soon broken-up by the reformed rakes The Duke of S and Lord W.

Earls and Scandal

As Lord B was dragged away by Lord W, he drunkenly declared his apologies. While The Duke of S offered an explanation for his friend’s actions to Lady D. (Who I might add had also courted the lady himself before he wed the lovely Lady S.) A smile of pleasure graced the lady’s face before she closed the door.

But wait, there is more to this story readers. My sources tell me that earlier in the day while at his club, Lord B laid Lord P to the floor with a planter. He threatened him with more punches if he ever approached Lady D and his sister again. It leaves me wondering who the Earl tried protecting more, his sister or the red-haired beauty, Lady D.

Earls and Scandal

Well readers, does the impoverished Earl mean to ruin Lady D for financial gain? Or is he smitten with her charms? While most ladies would have slapped a gentleman stepping over the bounds of propriety, Lady D did not. Which leads me to believe that she welcomes this scandalous courtship. I for one, will enjoy watching this scandal unfold.

About the Book: I Shall Love the Earl (Tricking the Scoundrels #3)

How many times must a gentleman ruin a lady before he offers for her hand….

She waited for the temptation held in his gaze. He refused to give into his desire to court her. Can a ruination of a lady lead toward a love to last a lifetime?

Every ball Dallis MacPherson attended, she saved a spot on her dance card for a certain gentleman. Many balls later and still no offer, prompts her to pursue the earl. When she encounters him on a darkened balcony, he steals a kiss and warns her away. His stolen kiss promises a passion she wants to explore. At every occasion he attends, she tempts him with her own promise. Soon the earl falls for her charms and sends her down a path of ruination with one incident after another. Can Dallis overcome the scandal of the earl’s pursuit?

Roderick Beckwith watched the Scottish beauty from afar. He lost his heart the moment he set eyes upon her. Throughout the season every gentleman offered her a dance, but him. With his financial affairs on the brink of disaster, he couldn’t provide her with the life she deserved. When his mother introduces his sworn enemy to his heart’s desire, he must set aside his pride. However, his courtship is less than ideal. At every opportunity he brings scandal to her name. Can Rory redeem himself and prove to Dallis that he is a gentleman worth loving?

With every glance, Dallis pulls Rory in deeper. His stolen kisses forces him to make her an offer of marriage. As they prepare for their wedding, he acts as the perfect gentleman. However, the proper gentleman was not who Dallis desired. Will her scoundrel show himself before they say I do?

I Shall Love the Earl is the third book in Laura A. Barnes’s romantic historical romance series. If you love a novel filled with a scandalous courtship set in Regency England, then you will enjoy Rory enticing Dallis with promises of love.

Devour I Shall Love the Earl, the third novel in Laura’s Tricking the Scoundrel series today.

Excerpt:

Dallis heard the pounding on the door and realized that for some reason Shaw wasn’t going to answer the caller. Even though it was highly improper, Dallis opened the door herself. She stood in surprise at who stood on her doorstep. Lord Roderick Beckwith swayed back and forth, trying to fight for his balance. His eyes glazed over as his lips pulled into a lopsided smile.

      “Yous is sooooo betiful.”

      He was drunk. The ever-proper, keeping his temper in a tight control, protective Rory Beckwith, was blazing drunk. He reached out to wrap his finger around a stray curl.

      “Soooo soft. Knew wods be.”

      Rory’s touch stilled Dallis from helping him stand. The gentle caress caught her unaware. His thumb brushed across the loose strand. Rory continued to sway and soon lost his balance. He fell into the doorjamb, where he decided to lean. When Dallis didn’t respond to Rory, he took his touch one step further and brushed his thumb across her lips. The jolt propelled Dallis closer to him, her mouth opening at his touch.

      “Soft engf to kiss.”

      Dallis didn’t know how to react. Rory was finally near and touching her. Her body took over, responding to his need. Her tongue slowly slid out to lick his thumb. At her reaction, he groaned and pulled her into his arms.

      “See, I tolds you I’s dangerous.”

      Rory’s lips devoured hers passionately, exploding her senses. His mouth pulling kiss after kiss from her soul, while his hands dived into her hair causing her hair pins to scatter across the foyer. As he sensed her desire, the kiss turned more urgent. Everything she ever read about was coming true at this moment. Still, Dallis held back from responding due to her naivety. Until he groaned and tightened his embrace, giving her the encouragement to return his kiss and match him stroke for stroke.

      “We thought this might be your next destination. C’mon mate, before the neighbors catch sight of your stupidity. I told you, Sheffield, that he would go to her.”

      Sheffield and Wildeburg pulled Rory away from Dallis. Her face flamed with embarrassment to be caught so intimately in Rory’s embrace. Dallis held her cheeks as Wildeburg led him away.

      “Sorrysss Dallis,” Rory called out.

      “For the kiss?” she whispered.

      Sheffield answered for him. “No, my dear, for another matter. I am working to quell that problem. But you should be aware that he defended your honor at the club today with Lord Phipps.”

      “Defended, how?”

      “By a bloody punch to the nose.”

      “Oh. More to add to my embarrassment.”

      “I am afraid so. Do you remember our conversation in the park?”

      “Yes.”

      “If it is any comfort, you are not the only one suffering from love.”

      “Then why does he ignore me?”

      “Pride, my dear Dallis. A man’s greatest downfall in life.”

      “Pshh.”

      “My sentiments exactly.”

      “Thank you, Sheffield.”

      “Anything for a friend. Will we see you at the Sambourne Ball?”

      “Yes, I am very excited. Lady Beckwith offered to introduce me to Lord Holdenburg.”

      “So I have heard. Another reason for our acquaintance’s inebriation.”

      Dallis smiled. Rory’s display of drunken affection proved he was jealous. Was he jealous enough to stop the courtship her grandmother proposed? If not, his actions this afternoon secured that he must court her or ruin her reputation. They could have explained away the punch, but the kiss held the most damage. Dallis knew her grandmother’s neighbors watched them. There wasn’t an activity in the neighborhood they didn’t observe.

      “Give Sophia my love.”

      “Will do. Please save me a dance this evening. We might as well make the bloke so bloody jealous that he will become a pup at your feet, begging for a treat.”

            Dallis closed the door as Sheffield entered his carriage. She leaned against the paneling, her smile growing wider, realizing she had Rory right where she wanted him. Her smile turned to astonishment as she remembered the taste of him on her lips. She pressed her fingers to her mouth. Would he recall their kiss after his drunkenness wore off? If not, she would be sure to refresh his memory.

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About the Author

International selling author Laura A. Barnes fell in love with writing in the second grade. After her first creative writing assignment, she knew what she wanted to become. Many years went by with Laura filling her head full of story ideas and some funny fish songs she wrote while fishing with her family. Thirty-seven years later, she made her dreams a reality. With her debut novel Rescued By the Captain, she has set out on the path she always dreamed about.

When not writing, Laura can be found devouring her favorite romance books. Laura is married to her own Prince Charming (who for some reason or another thinks the heroes in her books are about him) and they have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides her love of reading and writing, Laura loves to travel. With her passport stamped in England, Scotland, and Ireland; she hopes to add more countries to her list soon.

While Laura isn’t very good on the social media front, she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on the following platforms:

Website: http://www.lauraabarnes.com

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/lauraabarnes

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16332844.Laura_A_Barnes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraA.Barnes/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/labarnesauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/labarnesauthor    

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/laura-a-barnes

Newsletter Sign-Up:  http://www.lauraabarnes.com/newsletter

New Singer Plays Hard to Get!

A few nights ago there was a delightful surprise at the Raven. The notorious gambling establishment premiered its new singer, an auburn haired beauty named Charity Walsh. Little is known about the new girl, aside from her talent. She stunned audience members with her Gaelic tunes and stolen a few hearts with her angelic face. The lack of history only adds to the mystery my readers!

After the show I went backstage to see if I could find out a little bit more about the lovely Songbird, only to be turned away. It wasn’t just this humble reporter getting rejected. I heard the owner himself say that the lady was refusing all visitors. That is almost unheard of in the world of performers. I immediately became intrigued.

Sinners Club Singer

Turns out the lady is adamant in her refusal of all gentleman company and from the sources I talked to she has been turning away gifts since her debut. I found out that there is one young man who has at least managed to spend time in her company, but he is only a musician looking for a chance to play. There couldn’t possibly be anything to speculate about there.

The owner has decided to use the little charmer’s refusal to his advantage, encouraging the wild gentleman of his club to try harder. I can confirm that there is both an entry in the betting book at White’s, as well as at least one private wager among a set of young lords, as  to who might be the first to win the her coveted affection. The anticipation of finding out has only made her show that much more popular. It is standing room only and she now plays to a packed house every night.

Will she be able to resist the temptation of a charming, handsome (not to mention rich) protector?  Or will she hold fast to her word of swearing off all men, even those with deep pockets? Perhaps she will find her heart being pulled in an unknown direction. Rest assured, dear readers, I will make sure to find out and keep you apprised of what occurs.

About the Book Song for a Scoundral

Jasper Heade was the second son of the second son of a baron, which meant very little in the world. He was a sharp man, with big ideas and lots of ambition but could only get as far as being secretary to his cousin, the earl. One day, his cousin offers a contest with a sum of money larger than Jasper would ever see. The goal: woo the pretty little songbird that sang at the Raven Club. 

Charity Walsh had grown up a dirt poor nobody and she refused to live her entire life that way. The Irish redhead had convinced the owner of the Raven Club to let her perform and she was a success, but she wanted more. She longed to sing for a bigger stage and a more distinguished audience. To reach that goal, she will need to prove not only her musical skill but also her spotless reputation. That becomes difficult when she is bombarded with suitors. 

Jasper decides to assume a secret identity to win the money, but what does he do when he loses his heart? 

Sinners Club Novellas, Book 2

About the Author

Emma Brady is an author of historical romance set in the Victorian period. She currently has a series about naughty gentleman that get their just desserts in the Sinners Club. She is also working on a group project, a series of Victorian Fairy tales with a great group of authors to release this summer called Lady Goosebury’s Tales. She loves too cook and play with her two dogs, Brady and Jack. For her, romance is all about being willing to take a risk. 

Servants Always Know

You can learn a lot in pubs and cafés. Your Teatime Tattler has long had a policy of lingering in such establishments on the fringe more posh neighborhoods—the sort of places servants might gather on their off days.

The Little Brown Hen Pub has been particularly useful lately. It seems one of our “better” squares, one populated by two earls, a wealthy baron, and a dowager duchess to name a few, has had an abundance of havey-cavey behavior lately—enough to make a debutante blush.

First off an upstairs maid from the Earl of W—’s house and a footman from Mr. M.C.’s both were at pains to tell our man on the spot about strange arrangements in the Earl of C—’s fashionable townhouse—he who came into his title just last summer.

servants

“Y’don’t see them servants here, do ya? They keep to themselves they do. Downright unfriendly,” complained the footman.

“That butler o’thern looks more like a prize fighter than a butler, if you ask me,” the little maid sniffed. “And have you seen that footman missing one ear? His visage has an ugly scar. What kind of earl hires ugly servants?”

They scurried off to fetch more ale when an older woman, dressed in black, and obviously an upper servant shooed them away. She introduced herself as Her Grace’s dresser—that would be the dowager—and insisted on tea. “Only tea,” she said with a sniff. This bird seemed a bit high class for this pub, but then maybe widowed duchesses don’t pay as well as others.

Servants

“If you’re interested in the Earl of C—, I can tell you more interesting things about that house than deformed footmen,” she said, rubbing two fingers together. We’re always willing to spare a few coin for a woman who can use ‘em. We obliged.

“To begin with the man doesn’t live there. He has rooms at the Albany, and God only knows what bachelors get up to there. When the old earl died, the older sister—she who is the Duchess of M— came to look after the younger girl, a flibbertigibbet of the first order, in my opinion.” She drew breath and our man quickly suspected she had many opinions loosened by coin.

“Now the Duke of M— is a fine man, but his wife is a pale shadow of a thing, utterly incapable of minding the hoyden. They must have gotten fed up with her foolish starts and outlandish taking because they up and left. Closed up the house but for a few servants.”

She leaned over and dropped her voice, those fingers moving. Another coin may have slid across the table. “I saw them leave. Saw the carriage pull round, the duchess get in, the duke pull their boy by his collar and toss him in, and then they left.”

Our man waited, and not in vain. “I did not see the younger sister get in that carriage. Nor the one with the maid, valet, and baggage,” she went on. “Neither one. I watched the whole time.” He took her meaning, but to be sure he asked, “Are you telling me the Earl of C—’s young unmarried sister is living on her own in a house that’s supposed to be closed?”

“Well I know I didn’t see her leave with ‘em, and more.” She leaned in again. “I’ve been watching a girl her size wearing the clothes of a scullery maid but walking with the bearing of a countess coming and going through the tradesmen’s door. That chit is up to something, no doubt about it, and heading for ruin.”

“Is that it?”

“Well. The Earl of C— feeds anyone who come to his kitchen. Her Grace has complained mightily that it attracts all sorts of unsavory types. This very morning I saw a particularly horrid specimen—a filthy one-armed ruffian—parade through their garden as free as you please, and get taken in. Taken in and that girl in residence! Not an hour later he was out on the street. Did they toss him on his fundament? No! One of those deformed footmen was giving him directions. I ask you, is that how a respectable household conducts itself?”

________________

The Earl of Chadbourn makes it a policy to hire as many veterans in need of work as he can. The result has been a rather unusual collection of servants. As to his sister, perhaps he wasn’t watching as closely as he should.

Watch for Lord Ethan’s Honor in Fire & Frost: a Bluestocking Belles Collection

When a young woman marches into an alley full of homeless former soldiers, Ethan Alcott feels something he thought dead stir to life: his sense of honor. Effort at charity put the chit in danger; someone needs to take her in hand.

Lady Flora Landrum discovers that the mysterious one-armed ruffian she encountered in a back alley is Lord Ethan Alcott, son of the Marquess of Welbrook; her astonishment gives way to determination. As Ethan comes to admire Flora’s courage, perhaps he can reclaim his own.

About Fire & Frost

Join The Ladies’ Society For The Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans in their pursuit of justice, charity, and soul-searing romance.

The Napoleonic Wars have left England with wounded warriors, fatherless children, unemployed veterans, and hungry families. The ladies of London, led by the indomitable Duchess of Haverford plot a campaign to feed the hungry, care for the fallen—and bring the neglectful Parliament to heel. They will use any means at their disposal to convince the gentlemen of their choice to assist.

Their campaign involves strategy, persuasion, and a wee bit of fun. Pamphlets are all well and good, but auctioning a lady’s company along with her basket of delicious treats is bound to get more attention. Their efforts fall amid weeks of fog and weather so cold the Thames freezes over and a festive Frost Fair breaks out right on the river. The ladies take to the ice. What could be better for their purposes than a little Fire and Frost?

Celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020 with six interconnected Regency romances from the Bluestocking Belles.

Caroline Warfield is a Belle. You can learn about her and her writing here: https://www.carolinewarfield.com/

A Found Horse and Missing Widow?

Dear gentle readers,

Perhaps it passed your notice that three of our fashionable young ladies, led by the Duchess of Beloin, journeyed from London to Paris this Spring. They told their husbands it was to be a shopping trip, but they added to their numbers the widow Spencer. Is that not curious? And now that they have returned without said widow they have been spreading tales of seeing Mr. C. Bittlesworth’s stolen horse. Have these young misses been attending horse races unattended?

WIDOW

But more, this reporter is wondering what became of the widow Spencer. That lady is known to run with a bit of a fast crowd in London. Did her heart give out from all the shopping? Was she trampled by one of the racehorses? It will certainly sadden the gentlemen of London if the lovely widow never returns. What could she be getting up to in Paris?

It isn’t for this reporter to conjecture, of course. But certainly all the fashionable of Town are led to wonder what could keep a popular woman away for the Season. And what sort of welcome she will receive when she returns.

With fondest regards, dear readers ~ L.D.

About Pheme’s Regret

Can the darkest of betrayals ever be forgiven?

Miriam is known as Lady Spencer among the ton. A charming young widow with a string of admirers. In the London papers she is only known by the initials L.D., the signature given to all the best, and worst, gossip from Town. But she has been harboring her own secrets and will need the Haberdashers to accompany her on a trip to France to retrieve her illegitimate daughter.

Nicolas Baudin has everything in his life precisely as he likes it. Some might find his persnickety ways annoying, but when you’ve had your entire life upended by lies and speculation you prefer routine. That is part of why he enjoys practicing the law. Until a woman from England, his former home, comes to him with an unusual case, and everything he has been trying to forget comes crashing back.

WIDOW

Excerpt:

She heard him sigh and close the door. Biting her lip, she shut her eyes. She didn’t want to be a burden. She would not blubber all over him as though he had any responsibility for her.

But he didn’t ask her any questions. He simply wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her to his chest, resting his chin on her head. Comfort. Pure, clean comfort. Bloody hell, but she was going to start blubbering, just not for the reason she originally thought. When had anyone ever thought to comfort her? She’d gone from willful daughter to headstrong wife to independent widow. There had never been room for anyone to treat her this way. No one ever thought she needed it.

“Just remember,” he murmured into her hair. “Sometimes all that’s left is to do the right thing. Ultimately she’ll have to respect that.”

She melted into his embrace and admitted a secret to herself. She was falling in love with Nicolas Baudin, né Jon Bristow. He would be her measure for every other man for the rest of her life, and she was fairly certain they would all be found wanting. Brave, smart, honorable, and compassionate. Yes, she loved him, but it was a hopeless love. He could never forgive what she’d done to him. And just from a practical perspective, her life was in London, while he could never return to England. If she were to move to France it would mean the end of her gossip column and likely make her book publishing too difficult. Not that it mattered. He wouldn’t want to be with her, not the woman who had destroyed the trajectory of his life.

But her heart knew she loved him. And it hungered.

She turned in his arms and pulled him down for a kiss. There was a sweetness to their meeting of lips, teasing and clinging as if they had all the time in the world. When she sighed he pulled her closer, and the sweetness gave way to a burning intensity. His tongue mated with hers in a way that felt primal and necessary. She wished to stay here, like this, forever. If she could have gathered him into her heart to keep with her then she would.

“This has all the adventure, intrigue and romance we love Sue London for providing. Always a few surprises along with the necessary happy ending. Loved every minute of it!” ~ Amazon & Goodreads Reviewer

Universal Link US * Amazon UK * Amazon CA * Amazon AU

Keep up with Sue London online at her author website bysuelondon.com, on Twitter, or at her Facebook page. You can also get behind the scenes info, special excerpts, and other fun goodies on her Patreon.

LONDON

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