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Matchmaking and Secrets in Falmouth

Judging from this missive that went astray and was, er, rescued by The Teatime Tattler, bachelors in Falmouth best beware the designs of matchmakers.

Falmouth, 1811

My dear Hannah,

I hope you and Reverend Simpson are in good health.

Although I long to see you in person, I’m afraid that yet again I will have to put off my trip to Oxfordshire as Admiral Pridham is still rather tied up with naval business, so this letter will have to suffice. You wouldn’t think that a gentleman who has given up active service would still be embroiled in naval matters, but I suppose I must accept that in dangerous times like these with Napoleon rumoured to be poised to invade, an experienced naval man like my Priddy will be of value to the Admiralty.

But enough of sombre thoughts, let me move to the real purpose of my missive, which is to thank you for sending Sophie Turner to me. I am delighted with her. I simply cannot understand why her erstwhile guardian held her in such poor regard.

A View of Bath

The little that Sophie has shared with me about her past paints a dismal picture of her childhood, as have you when you recommended her to me. Indeed it must have been a blessing for Sophie when you arrived in Crawley and took her under your wing.

Her arrival in Bath did more for me than any amount of taking the waters, it was almost like having dear Kitty with me (who, by the way, is very much enjoying life as a naval officer’s wife in Deptford). Sophie and I attended the Pump Room every morning to join the gossip, I no longer needing to take the waters – ghastly stuff! We visited Bath’s fabric warehouses, which I swear are as good as any in London and I spent a great deal of money. Thank goodness the Admiral has deep pockets.

Despite her reluctance, I insisted on new dresses too for Sophie – the dear child needs to look the part as my companion. The lending libraries on Milsom Street are very good, I recommend them, and we indulged ourselves with all the latest novels.

Falmouth Harbor

As you can see, I am now returned to Falmouth and reunited with my Admiral. Alas, I hardly ever see him, so caught up is he with naval business. I planned to meet with him in Falmouth town for nuncheon this morning and took Sophie with me to show her the sights – would you believe that she has never seen the sea? Alas, just as Pridham arrived, accompanied by a certain Mrs Harris – an overpainted and encroaching creature in my opinion – poor Sophie fainted away. It took a feather from my hat to revive her and once I got her back home a dose of Daffy elixir soon set her to rights, so there is no reason for you to worry.

Between you and I, I am hoping to find a suitable match for Sophie here in Falmouth; there is a single young gentleman friend of my husband – not a naval man – yet I think he will do very nicely. I will write soon and let you know how things go on.

Your dear friend, Emmaline

About the Book:  A Bachelor’s Pledge

The woman who haunts his dreams

Secret agent Phil Cullen is upset when he discovers that the young woman he rescued from Mrs Newbody’s establishment has absconded from his housekeeper’s care without a word. Thinking he has been deceived, he resolves to forget about her… something easier said than done.

The man she wants to forget

Sophia Turner is horrified when she is duped into entering a notorious house of ill-repute. Then a handsome stranger comes to her aid. Desperate that no one learns of this scandalous episode, Sophia flees to the one friend she knows she can trust. With luck, she will never see her mysterious rescuer again.

But fate has other plans…

Months later, Phil is on the trail of an elusive French agent and Sophia is a respectable lady’s companion when fate again intervenes, taking their lives on a collision course.

Traitors, spies, and shameful family secrets – will these bring Sophia and Phil together… or drive them apart?

Heart-warming romance combined with action-filled adventure make this third book in Penny Hampson’s Gentleman Series a must-read for all lovers of classic Regency fiction.

Purchase link: mybook.to/ABachelorsPledge

An Extract~

 After walking for a while longer and stopping in various shops to make some small purchases, Emmaline decided it was time for some refreshment. ‘The respectable tavern I told you about is just along here. I’ll bespeak us a private parlour and ask the landlord to send a boy with a message for the admiral.’

Sophia followed her employer into an old-fashioned but tidy-looking inn. Emmaline was obviously well known in these parts, for the landlord swiftly joined them and led them to a pleasant parlour. ‘My Annie will be with you in a moment, ma’am, and I’ll send my lad Jack to you just as soon as he returns from the stables.’

Before long, the boy Jack was sent off with a message to the admiral, who was visiting the custom house, and Emmaline bespoke them some savoury patties, meat pies, cheese, and bread. At Sophia’s look of surprise – for she was still replete from her breakfast – Emmaline explained.

‘The admiral will want something substantial, no doubt, when he joins us. The man neglects to eat if I do not prompt him. He left quite early this morning, and I daresay he barely broke his fast.’ She settled herself on a bench under the parlour window, which looked out on to the busy street. ‘Come, let us sit here, Sophia, where we can entertain ourselves by watching the world go by while we wait.’

Sophia took off her hat and sat down at the other end of the bench, so that she and Emmaline both had a view of the bustle outside through the salt-encrusted windows. Emmaline commented on the uniforms passing by, pointing out the different ranks to a mystified Sophia.

‘See that gentleman there with an epaulette on each shoulder? He has made post and commands a ship. His companion has also earned his own command but has less seniority. Now, how do I know that, Sophia?’

Sophia watched as the two officers walked past, feeling guilty at making such close and unseemly observations of them. ‘Erm… Oh, I see it now. He only wears an epaulette on his right shoulder.’

‘Very good.’ Emmaline smiled. ‘We shall make a naval wife of you yet, my dear.’

Sophia smiled but said nothing.

The food was brought in, but the ladies ignored it, in order to carry on their observations. Suddenly, Emmaline’s face brightened.

‘Ah, here he is at last.’ Her smile was quickly replaced by a frown. ‘Oh dear, now he will be delayed while he exchanges pleasantries. So inconvenient that she should cross his path just now.’

Sophia looked out to where Admiral Pridham was standing. He was doffing his hat to a smartly dressed female whose broad-brimmed hat obscured her face from view. She was accompanied by a young, dark-skinned maid carrying several bandboxes. There was something in the older woman’s attitude that seemed familiar. Prickles of apprehension ran down Sophia’s spine. The woman turned and Sophia saw her take the admiral’s arm. He pointed to the inn, and they both walked on together. As they drew closer, his companion’s face came into full view. Sophia’s breath caught in her lungs. Dear Lord, it was Mrs Newbody.

Sophia’s eyes lost focus, and her heart was pounding in her chest so loudly she was sure Emmaline would hear it as she clutched the table to stop herself from sliding off the bench.

About The Author

Penny Hampson writes history, mystery, and romance. Her first published novel, The Unquiet Spirit, a ghostly, romantic mystery set in Cornwall, was published by Darkstroke in 2020. Penny has also written a series of Regency romances because, as a historian, there is nothing she likes more than researching her favourite period in history and bringing it to life. She lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

Website: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/pennyhampsonauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/penny_hampson

Penny’s blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/

 

 

Just Between Friends

What’s a bit of gossip between friends… a letter written by Lady Carolina, Dowager Viscountess Solisbury, to her bosom bow Lady Eugenia Springhope, Countess of Colston.

8th of July, 1809, Camberley, Surrey

Dearest Genie,

First and foremost, my apology for not responding to your last letter. As I wrote previously, Charles and I accepted an invitation to join Muriel Weatherington’s house party. We arrived yesterday and have been enjoying the most delightful company. The viscountess does know how to entertain!

I feigned a megrim to escape an afternoon in an apple orchard of all places so I could write of the goings on here. Where do I begin?

The gentlemen! What handsome specimens of English nobility!  Viscount Weatherington, the handsome devil invited his equally as handsome friends from his school days. You know who I mean. The Earl of Moreham, Viscount Sturmbridge, and the Earl of Crossley. All four gentlemen unmarried which has provided delightful entertainment as they attempt to avoid being cornered by the young maids in attendance. It would seem Muriel is determined to find her son a wife. It would also seem Weatherington is on to her scheme. The gentlemen travel in pairs!

The most entertaining guest is Lady Philomena Preston, of course. I’ve never understood how a spinster of her age can continue to be the center of attention at every social gathering. She’s here chaperoning her hellion of a niece, Lady Serena.

Just yesterday, Philly appeared dressed in a mustard-colored muslin day dress with large purple buttons down the center of her dress from her neck to her hem. The pièce de résistance was the garish purple swirl embroidery that graced said hem. While the dress was indeed something to behold, her bonnet upheld her love for the outrageous. A poke bonnet with yards of purple ribbon, yellow and purple flowers. In typical Philly fashion, a trio of the most monstrously long peacock feathers provided the dramatic flair the lady is known to flaunt.

Genie, you may not remember but Weatherington does keep a flock of peafowl. All would have been well if Philly had not joined Lady Muriel for a stroll through the back gardens, the domain of said peafowl. All was well until a rather cantankerous peacock took notice of Philly, or rather of her bonnet. The fowl screamed a hideous screech.

Those of us following the two ladies stopped and watched in horror as the massive bird took flight. Have you ever seen a peacock fly? I found it most unsettling to see those wings move through the air. Only Philly can cause such calamity. The bird flew over her head and plucked the three feathers from her bonnet. Philly calmly swatted at the bird, pulled her de-feathered bonnet down on her head and  continued her walk. The woman is truly an eccentric.

Today, much in the demeanor of her aunt, Lady Serena demanded to join the gentlemen for a shooting competition. The young lady brought her own Manton pistols! Weatherington graciously agreed to her participation. To the amazement of all, she was the best shot and won a box of cigars which she promptly handed over to Philly! Do you think that lady smokes cigars?

We have another ten days here. I dare not imagine what the Preston ladies will do next, but I promise to write you at once to share their misbehaviors!

Your dearest friend, Lina

About Book One, Dangerous Pursuit

Lady Serena Preston leads a double life. Not the typical society miss, she dresses and acts the part with perfection, a flawless and unique spy for the Crown. Abandoned by her father and
brother as a ‘useless’ girl, Serena determined she would prove her value and skills of observation and detail. Now highly regarded by her peers, she’s confident she can best any man in a game of
wits…that is until he returns to London. Richard is the only man she’s ever loved, and the memory of his rejection still stings. Now delegated to work with him, she’s determined to show him she’s no longer the young girl he rebuffed. But can she put aside the past, ignore the familiar longing, and trust Richard with her life?

Viscount Richard Weatherington left England four years ago after quite the embarrassing episode with Serena. Now back in London, he expects she is over her infatuation now, perhaps even married. He never thought she’d be working for king’s foremost spymaster, all grown up and using her beauty against French sympathizers. Now thrust together in pursuit of deadly
turncoats, Richard’s respect grows as he watches her pragmatism and dedication to their mission. Daily he fights the incessant pull of attraction he feels for her while, frustratingly, she appears to be unaffected by him. But when she’s captured, her life hanging in the balance, Richard vows to tell her he loves her—if she survives.

Dangerous Pursuit is on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase here

About Book Two, Dangerous Liaison

The Earl of Moreham has no interest in society seasons. Being known as a rake has helped him avoid such unsavory situations such as tedious receiving lines and pinch-faced bluestockings. He prefers the solitude of his work as a dedicated spymaster for the Crown. Unfortunately, his current investigation of a duke suspected of treason lands him in the middle of the upper crust crowd he avoids, complete with wearisome minuets and bothersome misses—one in particular who will not take no for an answer. One who he wishes he wasn’t so drawn to.

Gillian Browning is the perfect definition of a Lady. She has manners and decorum, doing what she should, when she should. But as the niece of the Duke of Whitney, when she learns of a vile conspiracy to convict her uncle of treason, she will stop at nothing to prove his innocence—even insisting she help the arrogant agent search her uncle’s bookroom to verify his lack of guilt. But when they find a coded note, Gillian is forced to admit her uncle is hiding something. Worse, when caught compromisingly alone, they are forced to marry. Now they must work together to find the truth, despite the mutual distrust that battles against their undeniable attraction.

When the note is decrypted, Moreham and Gillian are caught up in a conspiracy of murder, greed, and a secret that puts Gillian in grave danger. Can Moreham save a wife he’s not sure he wanted, but one he’s discovered he loves?

Dangerous Liaison is on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase here

About the Author

Ann Chaney is a nomad. In the last 36 years, she and her husband have moved eleven times. Her professional career included active duty service in the US Army for seven years and working 35 years in Human Resources and University Administration. She attended University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

In 2010, Ann began her writing journey by completing a collection of essays of her childhood memories before venturing into the world of Regency romance. Today, Ann writes historical romance novels set in Regency England in the early 19th century.  A member of Regency Fiction Writers, Ann is proud to support all authors of historical fiction. She enjoys researching the Regency era almost as much as she enjoys writing her characters’ Happily Ever Afters.

In 2018, following the path of her first book, Dangerous Pursuit, Dangerous Liaison finaled in Kiss of Death’s Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery & Suspense. Both books are part of her Lords of Whitehall series where gentlemen put honor and duty first until their world is turned upside down by equally determined and honorable ladies. Dangerous Illusions, the third and final book of the Lords of Whitehall Series will be released in January 2022.

www.annchaney.com

The Vile Impersonator

Dearest Reader:

The arrival of another country heiress in the Metropolis is hardly cause for excitement, at least in our considered opinion, for they are two a penny, if you will pardon the pun. That these all-too-often underbred innocents are beset by suitors will amaze no one, for there are at least as many gentlemen with fortunes needing to be mended, and they are none of them nice in their requirements. Let her be well endowed in the stocks, and her other charms—or lack thereof—need not signify.

The particular country heiress who has excited the latest rage, a Miss Lenora Breckinridge, while possessing somewhat more by way of refinement than her contemporaries, appears quite as susceptible to flattering attentions, and may require a hint. She has made no secret of her admiration for a certain gentleman, and is forever being seen with him, at Society parties and driving about town, and has raised both eyebrows and concerns. One can only wonder at her parents for neglecting to advise her in this matter, for they surely must be privy to the rumors which blaze through the town regarding her beau, and if she cares not to safeguard her fortune, her father at least should.

For the man whom our young lady has singled out is none other than the mysterious Lord Helden, whom we do not scruple to style a fortune hunter—though this may be the least of his sins. It is commonly known that his estate is ruined, its bounties wasted by his predecessor for reasons too sordid even for our pen, and he can offer not even a sound roof over the head of his future bride.

But even more shocking, if rumors are to be believed, his lordship may prove to be nothing more than an imposter. The thought makes one stare! However, upon reflection, one will acknowledge that for the lost heir to a viscountcy to suddenly reappear just as an heiress has made no secret of her admiration for his estate, is a fact that must bear more scrutiny than Miss Breckinridge, or her parents, appear to deem necessary.

The near impossibility that anyone but his lordship could prove himself to be Lord Helden, we cannot but allow; however, creditable sources have confirmed that the man claiming to be Lord Helden has been, for the past six months, performing the duties of caretaker to the Helden estate; moreover, he did not show himself to Society in his present guise until after Miss Breckinridge came upon the scene. If this does not arouse suspicion, we know not what could, and we call upon those in positions of responsibility to more seriously consider the matter.

One shudders to reflect upon the depravity of a man who will stop at nothing, be it the entrapment of an innocent maiden or the heinous sin of impersonating a nobleman, to gain a fortune. While such cannot be proven against the man in question at this time, this observer holds it as the duty of all loyal citizens to be vigilant against the mere possibility of evil. At the very least, if neither Miss Breckinridge nor her parents choose to alter her course, and she bestows her hand and fortune upon this Lord Helden, they only will be to blame when his true character is unfolded, as it must certainly be, in their married life. We have done our poor best to undeceive her, and can only hope that our friendly hint will be heeded before it is too late.

–a Disinterested Observer

About the Book

Romance of the Ruin, Book 2 of the Branwell Chronicles

The ruined manor promised her romance, but its master was maddeningly elusive.

Prey to Gothic sensibilities, Miss Lenora Breckinridge is smitten with the air of tragedy and romance surrounding an abandoned mansion. Convinced that she is fated to become its mistress, she sets out to find the master, secure in the belief that he will fall madly in love with her and they will use her fortune to restore the manor together.

Mr. James Ingles is disillusioned by the short hand fate has continually dealt him, but goes to be caretaker to the ruined mansion in a last effort to seek his fortune. When he discovers Miss Breckinridge’s fascination with the ruin, however, he recognizes an opportunity to get the better of fate, if only he can play his cards right.

Excerpt:

Would Mr. Ingles have done something so rash and dangerous as attempt to impersonate a nobleman? Lenora could imagine that the situation was indeed a tempting one, and the family bible might have given him all that was necessary to prove his claim. It may have contained histories, besides the names, with birthdates and places that would come in useful.

But she could not credit it. Mr. Ingles was not that kind of man—she knew that without a doubt. And the Lord Helden she had danced with was a perfect gentleman. How could a rough, coarse, uncouth man suddenly become well-versed in etiquette and possessed of refinement, unless he had been raised and educated so? His years in the army could very well have driven him to hide his finer virtues, and had he not—though briefly and under the influence of spirits—claimed himself a gentleman, at their first meeting?

That Dowbridge had so quickly believed the worst was worrisome, however, and the more she reflected, the more anxious she became. How many others would do as he had done, and would their suspicion be without foundation? Was it possible that Mr. Ingles was a consummate criminal, so conniving that he could touch her heart, even as he played the drunken fool?

Distressed, she took refuge in her room, sinking down into the chair by her fire and gazing unseeing into the flames, her hands wringing in her lap. She was discovered in this attitude some time later by Tess, who instantly strove to discover what ailed her mistress.

Lenora brushed her away impatiently. “Tess! I was merely thinking, for I have a thorny problem, and I am at my wits’ end to know what to do about it. Mr. Ingles is in London professing to be Lord Helden, and I do not know if it is true, or if he will be taken up by the magistrate and transported.”

“Good Lord, miss, I never!” responded Tess, correctly interpreting this cryptic utterance. “To think that such a hairy man could be Lord Helden!”

Lenora shook her head. “And yet he is Lord Helden. At least, I must believe so, for though he has been so rough and rude, and was a drunkard, and a common soldier, and—and so very hairy—I do not believe that he would do so dangerous a thing as to impersonate a nobleman! It defies reason.”

“That it do, miss, and I wonder that he’d have the pluck to try it! He’d have to be bold as brass! But if he fancies himself a gentleman, there’ll be no stopping him, for he’ll be living too high to wish to leave off.”

“You are right, Tess! He will soon be ruined!” responded Lenora, startled. “Who knows how he came by the money to rig himself out in fine clothes and set himself up as a gentleman in town, for even if he is Lord Helden, it cannot last for long, and when he comes to the end of it, he may be driven to desperation to keep up his appearance! He may turn to gaming, or to thievery—or worse!”

As neither young lady liked to think what could be worse than thievery, they did not attempt to envision such vice, but bent their minds to discover a way to save the unfortunate gentleman.

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BTPZ6SW/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_41AJA15ZFP5QB0QXQGW3

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09BTPZ6SW/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_HSDZ1PS7XR01HA3CM64T

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09BTPZ6SW/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PCSETNJBGHQSKK9NX2G9

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/romance-of-the-ruin-judith-hale-h-everett/1139972663?ean=9781736067536

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/romance-of-the-ruin

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/romance-of-the-ruin/id1579888890

About the Author

Judith Hale Everett is a writer of low-heat traditional Regency romance. She is one of seven sisters, and grew up surrounded by romance novels. Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen were staples, and formed the groundwork for her lifelong love affair with the Regency. Add to that her obsession with the English language and you’ve got one hopelessly literate romantic. You can find her at:

WEBSITE: https://judithhaleeverett.com

FACEBOOK: https://facebook.com/JudithHaleEverett

INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/judithhaleeverett

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/JudithHEverett

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:

Website

Amazon Page

Good Reads

Facebook

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But He’s Not a Gentleman

This letter has fallen into the hands of your Teatime Tattler editors. We trust our readers will find it of interest.

From Mrs. Letitia Piggott-Pym, Berkeley Square, London

To Miss Lorena Ogilvy, Vine Cottage, Sussex

Dear Sister,

At the close of this most successful Season, I am delighted to report that not only have we secured an entirely satisfactory husband for Arabella, but that our future son-in-law, if somewhat lacking in the matter of a chin, more than makes up for it in family connection and social distinction.

But I will confess that for a time our prospects appeared somewhat less propitious when Bella (along with several silly girls of her set) conceived a sudden tendre for a certain Mr. Merion – a development which, as you can imagine, Mr. Piggott-Pym and I found not a little worrisome.

In particular, dear Lorena, it simply wasn’t possible to refuse to receive Mr. Merion. He is a protégé of Viscount Crowden, not only having saved the viscount’s life during a terrible battle at sea, but being quite excessively attractive, looking just as one wishes one’s national heroes to look, as, sadly, they rarely do. War, after all, will cause disfiguring scars, burns, and amputations, but Mr. Merion’s wound is of the more decorative variety. In truth, the nearly imperceptible limp with which he walks, aided by a masterfully wielded cane, can only fan the flames of patriotic virtue among the girls, and perhaps, at times, even within the bosoms of their Mamas.

Not to speak of the fit of his coat, and even what might discern beneath…

But I digress; and in my meanderings have nearly forgotten to add that Mr. Merion is quite rich, or well on his way to becoming so. Of course, a lady doesn’t speak overmuch of such matters, but I am assured that he’s highly respected as a commercial investor in properties in certain neighborhoods. And although one wouldn’t venture to such quarters oneself, Mr. Piggott-Pym tells me that large sums of money may be made there in rents to a certain class of person.

Which brings me finally to the inescapable truth, that as ornamental an addition as Mr. Merion had made to one’s guest list – for his aforementioned assets and as proof of patriotism on the part of his hosts – the fact remains that Mr. Merion was not born a gentleman, and in fact served in His Majesty’s Royal Navy as a common sailor. And although this did not stop certain families from countenancing his attentions to their daughters, I can assure you that Mr. Piggott-Pym and I felt very differently…

And so in consequence, it was no surprise to find ourselves quite vindicated by the most shocking, interesting, and entertaining development… when a week ago, without a word of explanation or apology to any of his generous and condescending new connections, and leaving several dinner parties horribly lopsided, Mr. Merion quite entirely, and inexplicably, disappeared

ABOUT THE BOOK: A House East of Regent Street

The future looks bright for former sailor Jack Merion. His wartime heroics have won him influential contacts, and his good looks and flair for business are definite assets. With funds to invest, he’s on the brink of financial success in the high-stakes world of Regency London.

And buying the house in Soho Square is a can’t-miss opportunity. Once a fashionable brothel, the property will yield a good income in commercial rents and a clear path to the respectable life Jack has never known.

There’s only one problem – another prospective buyer. With a dark past, a desperate future, and some unmistakable assets of her own, Miss Cléo Myles is a formidable obstacle, one that Jack would be wise to steer clear of.

But instead, he proposes a bargain that’s as scandalous as it is irresistible.

Five afternoons. Five rooms. Uncountable pleasures…

…In a neighborhood that’s seen better days. And a house that’s seen everything except love.

An Excerpt

Woman, rather than lady.

Unless, Jack supposed, one knew how to pronounce the word lady with a certain ambiguity – a tone of voice like a wink or smirk exchanged with the other men in the room, to show that one really meant quite the opposite. A courtesan. Or even better, the French phrase Lord Crowden had taught him – trust the French to come up with an expression like grande horizontale. He himself had never encountered such a woman at first hand, and so he’d never been quite sure of all the nuances of implication.

But this… ah, lady could quickly fill the gaps in his education. He need only contemplate her posture and manner of address; it would be like memorizing an entire lexicon – of new uses for ordinary words that Miss Myles’s extraordinary presence had suddenly rendered inadequate.

One couldn’t, for example, exactly say she was small: not with her posture so regal that only the proximity of the lanky servant called attention to her lack of stature. Slender? He doubted that the possessor of such a voluptuous bosom could correctly be called slender. She was hardly young but it wouldn’t do to call her old either; the word ageless came to mind, but here his common sense rebelled. No woman was ageless – her youth, or lack of it, was always a critical index of her value.

Beautiful? He wasn’t quite sure – he’d always thought that beauty brought with it a comforting, disinterested sort of serenity. Well, striking, then, Miss Myles was certainly that. Sparkling eyes slanted catlike above well-drawn cheekbones; her mouth was expressive, the sinuous upper lip curving in a wary half-smile above the full, appetitive lower one. The afternoon sunlight seemed to embrace her as its own, her bright eyes and creamy skin outshining the brilliance even of these surroundings.

And oddly dignified, Jack thought, dignified and defiant – though world-weary might have been a more accurate word…

Release Date October 6, 2020 – Available for Preorder Now

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About the Author

Author of historical romances set during the English Regency and before the French Revolution, Pam Rosenthal has been praised for her graceful style as well as her writing’s unabashed eroticism. She was twice nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA award, and in 2009 her novel The Edge of Impropriety won the RITA for Best Historical Romance. Find out more about Pam and her books at pamrosenthal.com, on Twitter @pamrosenthal, on Facebook, and on Goodreads.

“Elegant, tender, and daring… Pam Rosenthal has an impeccable sense of the Regency and a fearless way with a story.” – Julie Anne Long, USA Today Bestselling Author

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