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Tag: Highland

I only sought a lady’s maid… and now this…

Such goings-on in the manor of Lord and Lady M–!

I had it from Lady M– herself!

A faint rapping came upon the door. The soft voice of Emma, the parlour maid, followed. “My Lady?”

“Enter,” I called.

Emma entered and curtsied to me. “Pardon me, My Lady, but the young woman is here about the position. Would you like to see her in the morning room?”

“Yes, thank you. I’ll be there presently.” With a sigh, I stood from my seat at the desk and stretched, glancing around my bedroom with a wince. Dresses, chemises, ribbons seemed to have strewn themselves over every available surface. I was sorry for Hannah, my maid, but she truly was not well, and the trip away with her daughter would do her the world of good. I desperately needed a lady’s maid.

Never mind, perhaps this one will be suitable.

I straightened my bodice and patted my hair back into position. Earlier this morning, Emma had tried her best with my coiffure, but she had never been trained as a lady’s maid.

C’est la vie.

My husband Lord M—’s ancestors frowned down from their portraits at the picture I must make with my less than salubrious attire, but I was, indeed, trying to remedy that situation this morning.

Emma stood beside the closed door to the morning room, curtsied and opened it. I entered, and the portal clicked closed behind me.

The girl, dressed in a tidy shirt and skirt, stood beside the fire in the grate, her pelisse over her arm. She curtsied, then looked directly at me, which I found refreshing.

“Good morning, and you would be Rachael,” I said, as I seated myself in one of the comfortable French chairs.

“Yes, My Lady. Good morning to you. Thank you for seeing me today.”

“Mmm. You understand I seek a lady’s maid. Have you a character?”

She handed over the single sheet of paper, folded and sealed. I glanced at the seal. Sutherland, no less.

“And what was your position at Sutherland’s?”

“If it pleases you, My Lady, I was a parlour maid there, but me mum trained me to be a lady’s maid since I was young.” She dropped her eyes to her wool-lined pelisse and the fingers of one hand crushed her carefully pleated skirt as she stood waiting for my next question.

“And you do not wish to continue as a parlour maid?”

She swallowed hard and looked back at me. “No, if it pleases you. I wish to better myself, to honour the memory of my mother.”

“You’re well-spoken. Your mother’s doing?”

She nodded. “Yes, My Lady.”

“And why do you wish to leave the employ of the Sutherlands?”

She took a deep breath and tightened her jaw. She finally answered. “Do you wish to hear the acceptable answer to that question or the truth?”

I smiled at her. The girl had gumption. “I appreciate being given the choice,” I said, with a wry grin. “The truth, please. Always.”

“It’s to be the truth, then.” She tightened her jaw for a moment. “I’d aspired to the position of lady’s maid there, but one young Master Sutherland… he was a bit free with his hands on more than one occasion, and… well, luckily, I was blessed to be holding a hot warming pan in mine, and… no one was injured, but the noise was tremendous.” Her lips twitched, but she kept a straight face. “Several other servants rushed to the room. I escaped and stayed as far away as possible from the young master. Fortunately, or unfortunately,” the girl looked down at me with a grimace, “on the same day, a young girl from the estate, Sofia, came into service as a tweenie.” She looked at me again, her brow wrinkled.

“Go on, please,” I said.

“Not only has her whole family been sent out to the coast in the Clearances, but Sofia was waiting for her young Robert, the son of the old Tacksman, and the love of her life, to return from his military service, but, well, things have gone badly for the young miss. Very badly. I know it is just a matter of time before…. well, before she is dismissed… and then his attentions could return to me. I’m a good girl and don’t want to go that way, if it pleases you, My Lady.”

I frowned at the character in my hands, as yet unopened.

Was there any point opening it?

 

Author’s note:

For those of you who have read the first book in The Long Trails series, A Long Trail Rolling, this is the first of Scotty’s stories. As you may remember, Scotty is the trading post proprietor in A Long Trail Rolling, my award winning debut novel. Scotty’s real name is Robert, not Scotty, but you’ll have to read the as-yet unwritten books to find out the reasons he changed his name!

I invite you to wait to hear the rest of Scotty and Sophia’s story in the boxed set by the Bluestocking Belles, coming later this year!

Meanwhile, check out my other books on my website!

Thanks so much for coming by today!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

About Lizzi

Lizzi is one of the newest Bluestocking Belles!

Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and practiced in the Gold and Pony Express Country of California before emigrating to New Zealand.

Busy raising two boys, farming, and running her own equine veterinary practice, she never thought she’d sit down long enough to write more than an article. A serious injury, however, changed all that, and planted her in one place long enough to jump-start her new career as an author!

With Lizzi’s debut historical romance, A Long Trail Rolling, she was: Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings; Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award for the best unpublished full manuscript; Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel and third in the 2015 RWNZ Koru Long Novel section; and Finalist, 2015 Best Indie Book Award. Her newest novels and novellas, all released in 2017, are currently entered in more contests, and she’s working on her next novel!

When she’s not writing, she’s swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding or driving a carriage, playing in the garden on her hobby farm, singing, cooking, practicing as an equine veterinarian or teaching high school science. She is multiply published and awarded in special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.

Lizzi is new to the Belles, but she’s loving the friendships she’s already developing with the rest of the ladies. She adores how they’re so progressive, organized, and fun. Best of all, they are all willing to put themselves out there, together, to achieve more, create more, than would be possible going it alone.

Lizzi loves to connect with her readers!

You can learn more about Lizzi and her books here or on these social media sites:

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The Witch’s Claims

Mr. Clemens, our editor doesn’t know what to make of this woman who claims to be a witch, but she insists every word  of this tale is true.

Some people think the “Ring of Belief” is a myth, but as one of the witches attached to the ring I can tell you they’re wrong. The magic is unpredictable, but real, and I shudder every time I think about what I’ve seen over the centuries. It’s my task to help the men of the Clan MacKay find love. Now you might ask, “How hard could that be?”

Would you believe that men in some eras are far from lovable? At least during the Regency Era the gentlemen have a veneer of civility. Some of the Scots in the Georgian Era were impossible. Why, I had to bring a woman from the future to find a match for Caden MacKay. And, she brought her dog. (Alright, to be fair, I gave Scruffy a choice and he wanted to come with her.)

WitchWell, Caden wanted nothing to do with my choice. Part of that may have been my fault. I miscalculated in bringing back a Sutherland, but to Ariel’s credit she didn’t back down. The two of them didn’t always understand one another. You don’t believe me? We can go back in time and I’ll let you listen in. Oh, that’s right, you wouldn’t know what just happened. Ariel saved Caden’s life and they shared their first kiss. Now, be very quiet:

Caden turned to his cousin. “We’ll search the windows above. By now the coward has fled, but we may yet find something to unmask our would-be assassin. Then we’ll attend to your urgent matter.”

He drew Ariel aside far enough that Ian couldn’t hear them. His expression screamed, I’d rather fight a dozen well-armed warriors than be in debt to a Sutherland. “Thank you for . . .” He simply stared at her.

“Saving your life?” She waited. Nothing. “Kissing you?” She raised her eyebrows. “Just trying to fill in the blank here.”

He blanched, but then heat filled his eyes. “Aye.”

“Well, one of us had to take the bull by the horns.” Okay, best not to dwell on that image. “I mean, I was curious. I wanted to kiss you. No big deal. It was just a kiss.”

“Aye.”

“Will you stop agreeing with me.”

His smile was genuine and she felt it to the tips of her toes. Good heavens, the man had charisma.

“I’ve nae had a woman who wanted me to disagree with her.”

“Well, I’m not like most women.” That was true enough. She’d never done the ‘let’s talk about boys, clothes and makeup thing’ with a group of girls. Somehow, she’d never fit in.

He smiled down at her. “Aye.”

“There you go, agreeing again.”

“Perhaps it’s because you make yourself so agreeable.”

She couldn’t contain the laughter that burst from her lips. “Really?” The word came out between gasps. “Oh, I wish you could have been there to tell my teachers. Not that they’d believe you. They thought I questioned everything.”

“Then they didnae ken you.” His brows drew together. “I believe the stone was meant for me, but just in case, I want you to take care.

Her laughter died. “Why would anyone want to kill me?”

Have you offended anyone aside from Ranald, the Countess or Robertson since I met you?”

“I don’t-So, I speak my mind. Is there a law against that in this century?”

“No. And I prefer plain speaking, but I’m nae most men.”

“No, you’re not.”

Do you see what I mean? Caden MacKay was one of my more challenging cases, although his twin, Gavin, may just be my worst assignment yet.

witchAbout the Book

Caden Mackay would never bed a Sutherland, let alonemarry one. Bloody hell, what had possessed his twin brother to propose to one of the she-devils? And what is Caden to do with the Sutherland beauty who appears, as if by magic, in his library? The defiant intruder is the enemy, but she is unlike any woman Caden’s ever known, and her tantalizing curves and wide green eyes could tempt a monk. He must devise a way to stop the wedding. But can he stop the desire that makes him long to make Ariel Sutherland his own?

Ariel’s life had never gone the way she’d hoped, but ending up in eighteenth century Scotland was a stretch, even for her. If not for her dog, Scruffy, she might have thought she’d walked into a romantic daydream. Especially since the object of her desire appears to be entirely too virile. But can she find her way back to her time, before her too-handsome Highlander makes her believe that love can conquer in any century?

Buy it here

About the Author

Dawn Ireland has  written several award-winning novels set in England, Scotland and Ireland. She prefers the Georgian era, because that time period fascinates her with its rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy society by refusing to follow expectations. After all, what woman in her right mind would want to wear panniers?

Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. Can you think of another profession that encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?

Dawn lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband.

http://www.dawn-ireland.com/startpagina.html

Uncovering a Card Cheat

Them o’ us in service at th’ Hare and Hound know well that loose talk happens when drinks flow and folks forget there be listening ears. T’other week we overheard a lady bent on getting answers out o’ a gent something fierce. When we ferreted out that he were the king’s man, Connor Grant, we knew Tattler readers would ha’ interest. The lady claims to be Ariana Fitzroy. Imagine when we heard she’s a card cheat!

The Lady: How long have you been training the fallen women of King James’ court to be spies? Is it as long as you’ve been working as his personal assassin?

Connor: *glances around with obvious discomfort* I dinna think I shouldna discuss that here.

The Lady *laughs at her own folly*: Right. Well, then – what did you think when you saw me for the first time?

A Card Game by Gabriel Metsu

The Gent: I couldna believe ye were cheating at cards right in front of everyone and no one was any the wiser. It was bold.

The Lady *gives the gent a coy look*: Did you think I was beautiful?

The Gent: Of course. All the girls I train are bonny. But I’ve always made it a point never to have an interest in the girls I trained.

The Lady: But you did with me. What was so different about me?

The Gent *regards the lady with an endearing consideration*: Ye were unassuming. Ye were such a scrawny wee thing when ye came to Scotland, I feared ye might be blown away by a strong wind. But then ye were so determined. And despite that drive to constantly do better, ye were kind — always putting others before yerself. Ye earned my admiration and ye stole my heart as sure as ye slipped cards.

The Lady *blushes and tries to keep a serious face despite her growing smile*: Did you think I would accept your offer to become a spy for King James?

The Gent: I knew ye would, or I wouldna have asked.

The Lady: Did I surprise you with how quickly I learned?

The Gent: Nay, I knew you would. Ye were too confident at that card table, too smooth in yer actions. I knew ye were smart and I knew ye had skill long before even yer first lesson. It was yer determination which surprised and impressed me.

The Lady: I learned a lot from you during my training. Did you learn anything from me?

The Gent: Aye, I learned a lot from ye, lass. But those listening in on this interview will need to read our book to find out just how much. *gives a shameless wink to the crowd in the Hare and Hound*

The Lady *smiles*: I’m glad you feel you learned so much from me. Can you share your favorite thing you learned from me?

The Gent *grinning*: How to play at cards when it’s no’ coins ye’re gambling with.

The Lady *flushes bright red and speaks quickly*: Well, that’s all the time we have. *flashes a final grin and slips away with The Gent*

About the Book: Highland Spy (Mercenary Maidens Book 1)

Ariana Fitzroy has lost her family and her fortune. The fight for survival leads her to the shadowed card games of court where she discovers she has quite a talent for slipping cards into her favor. While the winnings are enough to sustain her at present, they will not last forever…

Connor Grant, trainer of the fallen women from the English court and personal assassin to the king, is just as broken as the women he trains. After losing his own land and all his people in a brutal attack from a trusted friend, he has no choice but to rebuild any way he sees possible – even if it means going against everything he’s ever believed in.

After catching Ariana cheating at cards, Connor has a new trainee to instruct at one of the king’s many confiscated castles. In the dilapidated ruins, he discovers Ariana is more than she appears and falls in love with her incredibly tenacity and dedication – a love that is challenged by Connor’s chance at reclaiming the inheritance he once lost and has sought so desperately to regain.

This story is one of second chances, of realizing a strength where only hopelessness once resided – a story of rising above the bad hand one has been dealt into a life of accomplishment and love.

~Excerpt~

Ariana Fitzroy had been too greedy.

She gave a charming smile to the men at the table and pulled a pile of coins toward herself. They clinked against one another, the merry tinkling rising above the din of laughter and conversation.

How she’d come to love the sound of her winnings.

Tonight though, she’d taken it a mite too far.

She’d gone beyond what she needed for the merchant’s bills, the servants’ pay, and the rent on her meager lodgings.

The coins were cool against the warmth of her palm.

Winning always gave her such a heady rush, a wash of heat spreading from her cheeks to her chest and all the way down to her satin-slippered toes.

A discomfiting sensation settled on Ariana, one of which she’d always been especially wary.

The weight of being watched.

Praise For Highland Spy

“The first of Martin’s Mercenary Maidens will intrigue readers seeking a story filled with a large cast of characters, plenty of adventure and heated love scenes. Martin showcases her talent for storytelling as this fast-paced tale moves from one adventure to another at lightning speed. . . . readers longing for a good old-fashioned adventure with empowered women will find much to enjoy.”

—RT Book Reviews

“Appealing. . . a solid thread of teamwork and family, provided by the strong supporting cast of Ariana’s fellow spies underlies the romance between Ariana and Connor, creating a community that will surely thrive as the series continues.”

—Publishers Weekly

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eghTt2
Barnes&Noble: http://bit.ly/2dvO88K
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2dIPyem
iTunes: http://apple.co/2ew37Nr
Target: http://www.target.com/p/highland-spy-paperback-madeline-martin/-/A-51545451

About the Author

Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (AKA OldestMinion and YoungestMinion) along with Mr. Awesome. All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.

Her hobbies include rock climbing, running, doing crazy races (like Mud Runs and Color Runs) and just about anything exciting she can do without getting nauseous. She’s also a history fan after having lived in Europe for over a decade, and enjoys traveling overseas whenever she can. Her favorite place to visit thus far: Scotland.

Madeline’s contact info:

Author website: www.MadelineMartin.com
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor
Author Twitter: @MadelineMMartin

Author Amazon Profile page: http://www.amazon.com/Madeline-Martin/e/B00R8OGFN2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

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