First, my dear friend, I wish to thank you for hosting the Cambridge Wives Monthly Tea last May when I was indisposed. Now my turn has come again and I find myself in a quandary. Do you suppose one is required to invite that woman who dwells at Helsington? Duke’s daughter she may be, but I was never comfortable with the woman. Some have hinted we ought to ask her again if only for the titillation (Margaret Evans said that, can you believe it). Mrs. Potter still receives the woman.
Mrs. Smythe to Mrs. Clarke
Poor Maud Bailey seems to feel obliged to invite Lady Georgiana to tea this month. (If “lady” is accurate in her case.) Rumors do swirl, and Maud would get to the bottom of them if she could. She fears Margaret Evans, for one, takes salacious interest. What do you think?
Mrs. Clarke to Mrs. Evans
My dear Margaret, your Christian Righteousness continues to inspire! I understand you wish to invite the Duke of Sudbury’s Scandalous Daughter to tea—in order to let her defend against Certain Rumors, of course. I beg you do not push this issue!! I myself saw the truth of the matter. As you well know I live across the lane from Doctor Mallet’s recently returned son. Hero and fine soldier he may be, but he is not immune to a Woman’s Wiles. I personally witnessed her coming for his bachelor house at various hours. Admittedly it has been in the middle of the day but there is no chaperone in sight. When confronted she claimed she went there for help with her studies, that the man is her tutor. Who could believe such a thing! Greek indeed. She must think we’re all Babes to believe such a thing.
Mrs. Evans to Mrs. Bailey
Do not invite That Woman no matter what Molly Harding or Edwina Potter say. We’ll all hear what Abigail Clarke has to report.
About the Book
Even poetry, with its musical lyrics and sensual traps, is dangerous when you partner with the love of your life. It can quickly lead past improper to positively scandalous. A battered war hero and an abused woman come together in an emotionally complex story about the seductive power of words and the triumph of love over fear.
Lady Georgiana Hayden learned very young to keep her heart safe. She learned to keep loneliness at bay through work. If it takes a scandalous affair to teach her what she needs to complete her work, she will risk it. If the man in question chooses not to teach her, she will use any means at her disposal to change his mind. She is determined to give voice to the ancient women whose poetry has long been neglected.
Some scars cut deeper than others. Major Andrew Mallet returns to Cambridge a battle scarred hero. He dared to love Georgiana once and suffered swift retribution from her powerful family. The encounter 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?
About the Author
Caroline Warfield writes family-centered novels set in the Regency, Late Georgian, and Victorian eras. She lives in quarantine with the love of her life, while writing new stories. A lover of owls, history, and travel, she is also a Bluestocking Belle.
the editor of the Conwy Chronicle, Abergele, Wales
London plan to act? Kinmel Camp is a tinderbox. We know those troops
have been through hell, and now they’re locked up in that sad excuse for a
facility as bad as any billet they had in France with nothing to do but scratch
for food and scrap with each other. We heard they’re overcrowded, underfed, and
falling sick. The Spanish flu is still spreading, and it’ll infect the county,
A person could have some sympathy, but if things go haywire they’ll spill out into the county. Those Canadians already rioted once and men died. They kept it in the camp that time, but what about next time? What if they spill out into Bodelwyddan or some other town next time?
We all know about the strikes in the port holding up
shipping, but the government must act. Those men did their duty; they need to
go home; they need to get out of our county. Does the government expect us to
just sit and wait for another explosion?
That isn’t all. The longer they are here, the more we have women
hanging around claiming to be war brides. They all want passage to North
America. I know what I’m talking about. My aunt has an inn in Bodelwyddan, and she’s
heard it all. Last week a woman from France turned up. Claimed to be the wife
of a Canadian officer. A French woman! The army tossed her right out of the
camp, just like the rest of them. Next day she was begging my aunt for a job or
a place to stay. Barely speaks English but she wants a job.
Close the camp, I say. The
county government should demand it. The war is over now we want them to leave
us in peace.
About the Book
Some wars must be fought, some loves must live on hope alone, and some stories must be told. Christmas Hope a wartime romance in four parts, each one ending on Christmas 1916-1919, is one of them.
After two years at war Harry ran out of metaphors for death,
synonyms for brown, and images of darkness. When he encountered the floating
islands of Amiens and life in the form a widow and her little son, hope ensnared
With the war over, and no word from Harry, Rosemarie Legrand searched for him all the way to the Kinmel Camp, only to be thrown out by authorities. She can’t linger; no one will hire her. Now that the Great War is over, will their love be enough?
Award winning author of historical romance usually set in the Regency and Victorian eras, Caroline Warfield 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 world. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart, because love is worth the risk.
My first mission, as commissioned by, King Charles II, sounded simpler than the genuine affair. I wasn’t prepared to put my life in the hands of dastardly expatriates. While I was escorted by two fully armed compatriots they were of little assistance when establishing intimacy in the name of the crown. I had been given the directive to entreat William Scot, a rogue Englishman, to infiltrate the Belgium political corridors and report his discoveries to the King Charles II. In essence, I was to make a double agent of the man. It was with this request and whisper of a financial benefit that I should employ all my feminine wiles to subdue him into submission. I being in all ways, aligned with the King of England and a true patriot, never mind that I was broke, I took my task with fervor, as you are about to see.
was a lengthy journey and I had traveled by coach, horseback, and sea, with my
two fellow compatriots in search of William Scot. As I’m sure you can imagine, it
was an exhaustive journey to say the least. While we were subject to every ill
met experience of, sea sickness, fatigue, soured food, and dehydration, nothing
prepared us for the alehouse wherein we would find Scot.
I was told by King Charles II himself, that the likes of William Scot, would be found in Bruges, Belgium. Probably, in a pub, down by the river, where singing and lascivious dancing is practiced. Indeed it was true. The stench of spilled ale, over burnt meat, and bodily oils wafted through ale house as I entered. Immediately, I pulled a scented kerchief to my nose but the overripe smells of the alehouse drained all perfume from my nosegay.
Coughing and sputtering in the stale rancid air I unwittingly drew attention to myself and my companions. Since it was not customary, in Bruges, for reputable women to visit alehouses I garnered the attention of every patron in the building. The dancers stopped in misstep and the singers held their tongue in surprise.
stinging silence befell the room and I was at a loss to comprehend which of
these drunken lords was William Scot. My two companions were silenced to the
bone and I was left to my wits and my good graces to scrutinize the crowd of
twenty-five, thirty, or possibly fifty inebriated men.
understand my predicament, I’m sure. But I took the moment at hand and stood
tall enough to see the entire room. I spoke gently and I admit only batted my
eye’s just enough to get the gentlemen’s attention. I cleared my throat so my
best voice would rise to the occasion. I began.
Sir’s,” was all I managed until the room broke out in loud jags of laughter and
hoots of folly. I was startled to the point of laughing myself.
none of Sir’s, woman,” one man shouted above the din.
my idiocy I made a second plea once the room had started to silence again.
am in search of William Scot, might any of you know his whereabouts?” I said.
Silence again fill the alehouse. A man moved forward toward me, slowly and
distinctly. I admit until this time I had not ever considered that William Scot
would be as handsome as the ocean is wide. In an effort to maintain my
constancy, I once again pulled my kerchief to my mouth and batted my eyes. I
can assure you it was not to entreat him so much as it was to calm my own
he approached me, I could feel my composure slip.
is it, that’s asking for my attention and why?” he asked, expressing a devilish
couldn’t lie at this point, but my intelligence reminds me that saying too much
in front of this crowd may lead me down the wrong path.
come bearing news of a private nature, my good sir, and if we have a place to
talk then I can express more fully my duty to you,” I said with a slight bend
and upward glance.
wasn’t a moment before the room was again filled with hoots, whistles, and
howls of laughter. With a deep breath Scot, held out his arm, and in the most
courtly fashion ever displayed. I took his arm and we walked out of the
alehouse and embarked on the path by the river. We were followed at some
distance, by my two silent companions.
M’Lady, what news do you bring to me?”
had to take a moment to clear my head and find the words to entreat him to our
your taking so long to tell me of your plans, I’m afraid I’m under arrest,” he
said with his broad smile.
am waiting sire, until we are out of earshot of the crowd, this business I have
for you is delicate and not meant for all,” I said and couldn’t help but grin.
if it’s that important, then your appealing to a man who is half drunk. Are you
sure this will get the answer you seek?”
looked up at him, “We’ll then, I’ll only make my appeal to the sober half of
you, if you’re inclined to listen,” I said stopping on the path.
a wit like yours I’ll happily listen to your plea. But understand, I’m not the
kind to easily sway my beliefs even for the prettiest of maids,” he said.
dear, it’s been a number of years since I’ve been a maid, your kindness is
treasured. But, I have something of a delicate nature to put to you and need
your full attention,” I said.
delicate than your neck,” he said reaching and touching her just below her
touch was more seductive than anticipated and I felt a ripple of heat run the
entire length of my body. When I collected myself to the point I could speak he
outmaneuvered me again.
is it a subject more delicate than your sweet blushing cheek?” he said and this
time ran the back of his hand over my cheek and I could not stop the rising and
falling of my breasts.
maybe it’s the fine china of your décolleté
that is the delicate subject upon which you wish to speak,” he said
touching my cleavage in the most tempting way. By now, as you can assume I was
all a flutter. Hardly able to gasp a breath I was astonished at his boldness
and yet, I could see swaying him politically might be simpler than I had
it is my rouged lips that bring you news directly from King Charles II,
hearing the news that the King had directly sent me on this errand he backed
away in suspicion.
is a high honor indeed, and here I am thinking you were here to empty my pockets
with your feminine charms. Tell me more,” he said.
is a high honor he would like to bestow upon you, Sire Scot. I am humbled to
bring a request from the King, that you might, sway your intellectual ideals to
include the Crown,” I said and waited a moment for him to respond. He was only
still and quiet.
Highness, has requested to entreat you to bring news of Belgium to Britain,” I
said with more misplaced enthusiasm than intended.
is your name?”
Astrea, does your Highness have such a short memory? The Crown had sentenced my
father to death only one year ago. Now they ask for my allegiance?” he said in
such a harsh tone it was difficult to hear.
“ I am Astrea,” I said hoping to regain my station.
“That was a matter most regretful. The Crown was only protecting the King, after all your father, good sir, had planned to murder his Highness in the dead of night. Retribution is customary in a case such as that,” I said.
stood ponderously looking out at the passing river then turned slowing to face
me with eye’s glowing like embers from a fire and he spoke his final words. “If
the King could see his way to pardon my father and rename the misdemeanor, then
I would consider aligning with the crown once again, but never until the King
honors my father. Upon this, I am settled.” He said and walked away.
At this point, I could tell my duties were going to be considerably more difficult than I first understood.
About the Story and the Author
This memoir is based on a fictitious conversation between Aphra Behn and William Scot. Aphra Behn, when she was actually working as a spy for King Charles II went by the name, Astrea, as listed in the story. It is believed she is the first woman to make her living as a writer, as a playwright and novelist. Prior to taking up the pen, she worked as a spy for the King Charles II, among other things. The portrait above is Aphra Behn, painted by Mary Beale (1639-1699).
Daphne Masque writes contemporary romance set in the theatre. Currently she’s giving away an Autographed copy of Haunting Indiscretions, the second book in her series, “Romance at the Empire Theatre”. She plans to begin writing historical fiction.
Daphne has spent a good number of years acting, directing, teaching and writing for the theatre. And she loves romance, what better way to combine her two passions. To signup for her newsletter go to http://www.daphnemasque.com/contest/
One of your Tattler contributors has cornered a witness to goings-on in Edinburgh:
“I am talking with Lady Eufemia here, down at the hotel in Edinburgh where THE DARK DUKE is rumored to have taken his bride for their post nuptials. However, they are not the story of the hour any longer, for the new Duchess of Canterbury has been seen having breakfast with the Honorable Hermione and the truly stupendous Countess of York.
“She wore a stunning confections, as always, her hat in perfect counterpoint, and showing off her pert countenance. In fact, according to our Lady Eufemia, it also showed up her tears as she went running from the dining room in a decidedly unladylike fashion. Tsk tsk.
“I ask the Lady Eufemia, what do you make of such shenanigans?
“Well, Lady Charissa, I am decidedly not one to gossip, but, I feel there is already a problem in the newlyweds marriage. And I think Lady Sarah may be at the crux of it. The duchess and countess have long been fast friends, but on the morning after the wedding, Lady Sarah slinks to another part of the dining room, only to run off crying a few minutes later? No, I tell you, Duchess Canterbury said something and Lady Sarah tried to compose herself. Then, when the upset just became to great, she left to find privacy to cry in.
“I am sure that we will see more of this rift back in town for the season.”
“Why, Lady Eufemia, you have the brightest smile when it is so engaged. Good luck with the season. I am telling you, something dark and nefarious is happening here. I just hope we learn the on dits first.”
About the Book
Dark times fall upon Lady Sarah and her friends as they try to unravel mysteries of who wants them dead.
Barely snagging Lady Lillian out of danger, Lady Sarah finds herself embroiled in some clandestine mischief. It causes her to doubt Lord Archer and her own feelings for him. But this fashion loving countess is not able to give up on her dreams and love for him. She enlists the aid of her two best friends to piece together what might really be happening. For she couldn’t bear it if he was a traitor to the crown.
Lord Archer’s hero in the spy organization he and his family had long been a part of are in Edinburgh to reveal a traitor to the crown. Only, his boss wants him to spy on the woman he loves and the best friend of her and his own sister. Could he have really fallen in love with a traitor? He keeps his own counsel from his boss. death.Upon deciding that there is no way his beloved could be a traitor, he recruits them all to uncover the dark underworld doings which could lead to Queen Victoria’s
While their lives and love are under attack, the two of them work to bring down one of England’s most powerful lords before he can kill the Queen.
Hermione and Lady Lillian laughed. “I said, you’re thinking about women’s rights again, aren’t you? About the battles and the queens?”
A flush stole over her in embarrassment. “Yes,” she mumbled. “Though I do not see how you are always able to tell when such things cross my mind,” she added primly. “One might think you possessed some magical powers if one lived in the dark ages.”
They laughed harder. “It does not take a genius to see the look on your face. After these many years, I have come to learn this look quite well,” Hermione said. “It used to scare me witless, afraid Father would not approve of you and your ways.”
“Your father would not dare to have offended mine,” Sarah said, a little laugh escaping. “They had too many business interests together. How do you think we ended up playing together so much as children?”
Their food came, and the three of them ate and laughed, enjoying being women. Soon enough, Lord Clarence would come and steal Lady Lillian away again, so Lady Sarah would enjoy that morning together before her best friend left to Lord Clarence’s Scottish estates.
She’d have time later to think of her own marriage and other long-lost stories and dreams.
As they finished their meal, Sarah noticed a man having undue interest in their table.
“Hermione, Lillian, I wish to have tea before we all leave. Care to join me in the suite of rooms? I’ll have some sweets brought up. We must plan our next get together, and I find I need to go…” She flicked her napkin, trying to think of a probable story that would not be a lie. She let out a sigh. “I need to check a few things. I will fill you in when I have been able to finalize my thoughts on the matter.” A half-formed plan to stay in Scotland rather than go back for the slowly starting season began to play on her mind.
“Of course,” Hermione said. “I will be up when I finish this scone. I find I am hungry more and more these days.”
“I will wait for Clarence, and he can escort us both to the gardens then to your rooms,” Lillian said, a blush stealing over her cheeks once more. No doubt from calling His Grace by his first name.
“Then it is settled. I will meet you for tea. Thank you.”
She stood and shook her skirts out in a deliberate manner, trying to see the man from the corner of her eye. Most definitely watched her much too closely. A pillar stood near him. She would make her way around to there and try to listen in on the conversation. Call her paranoid, but after what they’d just gone through with Lady Amber and Lord Jarvis, on top of her ugly valentine, she would take no chances. Rather to feel foolish than feel dead. She nodded her head as she walked, then proceeded to listen.
About the Author
Leona Bushman is a USA Today best selling author. She is a crazy writer taught by dragons and known as Dragon Queen of the North. She loves to write and paint, even when her muse tries to muck things up. She chases after the three out of the five children still at home, and sometimes after the other two and the grandbaby. She has many hobbies like SCA, quilting, sewing, and gardening. Or, as one blogger succinctly put it, Leona Bushman is a whirlwind made of sheer will with a dash of clumsy to keep her grounded.
“Did you hear about the other night at the saloon?” Miss Mora whispered, then forced a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes at a tall, dark, and handsome passing them on the boardwalk.
“No, whatever happened?” Miss Alamander, dressed in blue, sidled closer to her friend, if you could call her that, and together they took refuge behind her fan. Miss Mora’s lips made a moue at the back of the man who had just passed them without sparing the ladies, in their glittering (if slightly stained) dresses, another glance.
“I’d gone with Mr. Sorley for an evening of fun and cards at his cabin, entertaining him and his friends,” Miss Mora gave the other woman a wicked smile, “and—“
“I’ll bet you made a pretty penny for that night’s work,” Miss Alamander cut in, her lips tight.
She just smirked.
“Okay.” The woman in blue crossed her arms and waited, but Miss Mora just stood with one brow raised. Her curiosity eventually got the better of her, even over her annoyance at Miss Mora’s good fortune at the potential expense of hers. “What happened?” she finally asked.
“You wouldn’t think it, would you, but that big blond brute of a man, Jackson—”
“Yes?” she breathed, egging Miss Mora on.
“If you’d let me finish,” she harrumphed, “Jackson stumbled into the saloon late last night, drunk as a skunk, and…” She broke off and smiled over her fan at a man passing by, then resumed, “he stormed across the room toward this boy, and he so young he hadn’t a hair on his face.”
“Well, the young lad had his hat on, a big ten-galón hat, you know, like the caballeros from Mexico wear?”
“Get on with it,” Miss Alamander said crossly. We don’t have all day.” She smiled at a filthy man riding his horse past them, his stench following him, and swallowed hard.
“That boy, he got the best of him!” Miss Mora whispered.
Miss Alamander looked up from the blue bodice that just barely covering her bosom and blinked. “But no one gets the best of Mr. Jackson! That’s impossible, how did he do it?” She hissed as Miss Mora turned away from her to make eyes at a man walking down the street leading his mules not a yard away from them.
The gentleman’s accoutrements bespoke his success in the goldfields—not only his exquisite, if dusty, clothing, but the fine wood and leather cases piled high over his pickaxes, shovels, and pans. His waistcoat alone must have cost more than her wages for a month. She gulped and took a breath deep enough to nearly bust herself out of her bodice, but he never looked her way as Miss Mora strode boldly toward him.
“And how might you be today, sir?” she asked him in a throaty tone, somehow wiggling her top half at the same time she floated off the boardwalk and through the mud.
“All the better for seeing you,” he said, with a chuckle. “Will you ladies be here long?”
At least this time, he included Miss Alamander in his glance.
“That depends upon what you have in mind, sir,” Miss Mora continued, as she slithered up to him and stood between him and Miss Alamander, as if on purpose. Her gliding was made all the more difficult by the half-foot of slop which the locals deigned to call a “street” here in Camp Floyd. The soldiers didn’t seem to mind, but the ladies did.
“What do you say you come along with me for awhile,” he said, then nodded at Miss Alamander, still standing on the boards, “and then you can rejoin your friend afterward?”
The woman in blue took a deep breath and unclenched her hands and smoothed the silk down over her abdomen and joined them demurely before her. She gritted her teeth and forced a smile at him, then turned to face the other men passing her by as the stores closed for the day.
No one was up for a tussle at this early hour, at least the locals, and the soldiers would be at their mess up at the fort, so Miss Alamander cooled her heels for what seemed a month and fought back a smile.
This was going to be fun.
She schooled her features to look impatient as Miss Mora finally returned, a bit less tidy than when she’d left. She was missing a few hairpins, but wore a big smile. She jingled as she hopped up onto the boardwalk.
“So stop looking like the cat that ate the cream,” Miss Alamander said, pursing her lips, “and tell me! How did a mere boy best big old Jackson, especially when he was in his cups?”
“He cut him.” Miss Mora gave her a sideways smile. “Jackson stormed toward him, and you know how big he is, but this boy, his waist no bigger around than that brute’s leg, just stood up at his table, cool as a cucumber, knocked his glass on a table, even with his arms held behind his back by one of Jackson’s henchmen, and cut him. Sliced his arms and then those of the despicable man behind him, and bolted out the door! No one’s seen the boy since.”
“No.” Miss Alamander did her best to look shocked, but it would be nothing to what she was about to see on her friend’s face. She couldn’t wait.
“Yes,” Miss Mora said, nodding her head emphatically.
“You don’t say,” Miss Alamander said. “Now I remember. I heard something about that… I heard it wasn’t a boy at all… it was a girl!”
Miss Mora’s chin dropped until it came to rest on her ample and exposed bosom. For once, she was speechless.
Wow, what a woman, if it was one! Who could she be? You’ll have to read A Long Trail Rolling to find out!
About the Book
A Long Trail Rolling
She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.
Just orphaned, Aleksandra holds the family secret her father died for. She hides by joining the Pony Express as a boy, where an alluring Californio sees through her guise and offers help—and more.
Xavier’s conviction that women cannot be trusted is deeply rooted in the reasons he left his birthright. But Alex is like no woman he has ever met.
With the killer getting closer and an Indian war brewing, Alex and Xavier must decide whom they can trust, and what they really want.