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Foul Play on a Baron or the Foul Baron Played?

Thomas, the second Baron Lyttelton, has died under mysterious circumstances.

Rumors concerning his death abound. He was an infamous rake, known for using his charm and talent to seduce women and gain influence. He fought duels, gambled away a fortune, and married the misguided Aphia Witts to pay his debts before fleeing to Paris with a barmaid. Upon his return in, he entered the House of Commons in 1768 and exited the next year after being accused of bribery.

Thursday last, 25 November, 1770 Lord Lyttelton told friends of an extraordinary dream he’d had the previous night. A bird had flown into his room, transformed into a woman wearing white, and informed him that he’d die within three days. He discounted the dream, attributing it to a recent party he’d attended where a robin had flown into the room. He was accustomed to a woman’s scorn, so that part of the dream seemed easy enough to explain.

By Saturday evening, he boasted he would “bilk the ghost” and ordered breakfast for the following day. He retired shortly after. Just before midnight, lying in his bed, Lyttelton’s valet said his master died “without a groan.” There was no inquest.

According to close friends, the only legacy he leaves behind is a reputation of questionable character as a compulsive gambler, drug addict, and debaucher of women. So, The Teatime Tattler asks,  was his death an act of vengeance? Or did karma finally come calling for the wicked baron?

About the Book

Upon a Midnight Dreary is up for preorder and will release this month, October 21.

This amazing anthology contains dark, romantic tales of ghosts that haunt and taunt, written by some of your favorite historical romance authors. Each novella will include a romance and a “real” ghost story. Aubrey Wynne’s contribution includes the wicked Lord Lyttelton.

Buy Link: (https://books2read.com/midnightdreary)

Excerpt from “Percy’s Perdition” in  Upon a Midnight Dreary Halloween anthology

Ellie nibbled at a candied apricot as she snuggled against Percy’s chest. They had foregone supper, moved to their bedchambers, and now ate a cold repast spread about the counterpane. “I heard the most delicious tale the other day. Did I tell you of the wicked Lord Lyttelton?”

Percy smiled and kissed the top of her head, the blond waves spread over her bare shoulders. His limbs were heavy, and he couldn’t care less about some rakish peer. “No, love.”

“He was a baron with no regard for mankind, wasting his money and seducing innocents. One mother was so horrified when her daughter succumbed to his advances, she died of a broken heart.” Ellie paused while she took sip of wine. “But the mother had the final word.”

“They always do,” he agreed.

She slapped his arm but grinned. “Anyway, she returned as a ghost and told him of his looming demise. Three days and he would be dead.”

“Ah, but one can do so much living in three days.” He picked up a hunk of cheese and offered Ellie a bite. She shook her head.

“Well, a quarter hour before midnight of the third day, he dropped dead! Can you imagine?” She sank her teeth into the blue and white Wiltshire and smacked her lips.

“People die every day, my dear. It doesn’t mean an apparition caused it.”

“This happened forty years ago, but there is much documentation. And it gets stranger.” She kissed his cheek. “The wicked lord stopped by his friend’s bedchamber on his way to Hell. The man saw the baron at the foot of his bed, miles away in another county, the same night he died. He woke his household to look for the scoundrel since Lord Lyttelton was known for his pranks. But alas, he was never found.”

“Because he was dead.”

“Exactly!” She beamed at him as if he’d done something very clever.

Percy snorted. “You have a way of maneuvering our conversations until it appears I agree with you.” He kissed her soundly on the mouth.

“Don’t you?” she asked, batting her eyelashes.

About The Author

Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule, and barn cats. Obsessions include wine, history, travel, trail riding, and all things Christmas. Her Chicago Christmas series has received the Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and twice nominated as a Rone finalist by InD’tale Magazine.

Aubrey’s first love is medieval romance but after dipping her toe in the Regency period in 2018 with the Wicked Earls’ Club, she was smitten. This inspired her spin-off series Once Upon a Widow. In 2020, she launched the Scottish Regency series A MacNaughton Castle Romance with Dragonblade Novels.

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Duke’s Mysterious Kin Sighted

Exclusive to the Teatime Tattler

The Duke of G__ arrived in town this week with a highly irregular guest. A Mr. K_, a Welshman with three children stays at the duke’s elegant townhouse where he is being treated almost, dare we say it, as family. Our usual sources—servants do talk, especially when in their cups at certain taverns—imply the men act like brothers.

That can’t be, of course, as this K__ is several years older than the duke. The previous duke acknowledged no illegitimate children so one is left to wonder. Who can this man from Wales be, and why is the young duke eager to spend time with him?

We’ve been told the man has a pronounced limp, and our sources tell us the previous duke once took in a young man with a similar disability, but was forced to show the ungrateful miscreant the door. Is K_ the same person? Of course they’ve attended no social events so it has been difficult for society to get a good look.

We’re led to understand that there was a recent reconciliation with his father’s wife, the Dowager Duchess. Can she be involved in this family tangle?

The Tattler can only wonder what the Duke of H_ thinks about this turn of events. The Duke of G_ is well known to have been courting H__’s granddaughter during the recent Season and an offer is expected. Indeed it may have already been made. Will an irregular family situation derail young G__’s hopes?

The Dowager Duchess of Glenmoor was indeed involved in her stepson’s complicated relationship with that mine owner from Wales. The story is in The Defiant Daughter.

About the Book

Madelyn assumed marriage as an old man’s ornament would be better than life with her abusive parents. She was wrong.

Now the widowed Duchess of Glenmoor, she wrestles with ugly memories and cultivates a simple life. She is content. At least, she was until her half-brother returned to Ashmead bringing a friend with knowing eyes and coal black hair to capture her thoughts.

Colonel Brynn Morgan’s days as an engineer in his father’s coal mines in Wales are long behind him. With peace come at last and Napoleon gone, he makes a life for himself analyzing the reports about military and naval facilities worldwide for a shadowy government department. What income he has is committed elsewhere. He has nothing to offer a wife, much less a dowager duchess.

More lies between the duchess and the man she wants than money and class. They have personal demons to slay.

Preorder for only 99 cents! October 21 release. https://bit.ly/TheDefiantDaughter

About the Series

When the old Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each and their mothers by name, he complicated the lives of many in the village of Ashmead. One was his defiant daughter. He left her nothing.

One sleepy village

One scandalous will

Four tormented heirs

 

About the Author

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. 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.

Visit Caroline’s Website and Blog                http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

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Disgraceful Behavior in a Small Town

This letter reached our newsroom from a village in New York.
Dear S. Clemens,

        As a faithful, God fearing Christian woman,  I find your column is perfect to find those lost souls who are in need of prayer. You recently mentioned  our town bachelor, Mr. David Moses Van Hoyton, was recently seen escorting an unknown female into his hotel.
 I’m sure the people of the church will appreciate any further information you may acquire as we wish to pray for her by name. I’m sure she will not be found in the hotel register as she clearly was NOT a guest. I also am an eye witness to this event and  I can honestly state, her clothes were definitely not of high quality.  Though you speak of her being “a pretty thing with big expressive eyes”, I am only concerned with her soul and any possible harm she may cause the above mentioned man. We do not want any backsliding to occur on his part. I was told by a very reliable source, this very woman  was seen near the train station earlier in the day. The train master, an honorable Christian, seemed infatuated by her and was seen enticing her with some sort of gift . It wasn’t  long after that Mr. Van Hoyton passed by and she quickly chose our local hotel owner as a better–how do I say it–friend?
Again, any further news on this clearly lost soul will be used discreetly and shared only with the good people of the church’s sprayer group. Thank you,
A concerned Christian woman

About the Series

This bit of fiction is in reference to characters in a work in progress that is part of Camille Regholec’s series Looking on the Heart.
Book 2, Secret Way to the Heart
Though far from the battlefields, the Civil War brings many changes to Jayne’s family and neighbors in the Hudson Valley of New York. As she struggles to keep her family united in the midst of a country torn apart, Jayne seeks God for answers and protection to keep her heart from falling for a mysterious Southern preacher who appears on the scene.

The Dead Baron?

Dear Reader,

This correspondent gleefully shares the news with you the news that Sir James Branstoke and his new bride, Lady Cecilia Branstoke are not on their honeymoon in the Highlands as they would have all believe. No, no, quite the contrary. They were recently spotted at the theater in the company of Lady Elinor Aldrich.

There was no sign of Baron Simon Aldrich, and Lady Aldrich wore black. Though this correspondent has not heard of any official announcement, it is rumored Baron Simon Aldrich has lamentably met his death in a carriage accident along the White Cliffs of Dover.

Sir James and Lady B. don’t believe it.

We shall do our best to ascertain the truth.

About the Book: Rarer Than Gold, Book 2 of “A Chance Inquiry”

When newlyweds Sir James and Lady Cecilia Branstoke come to console a widow on the death of her husband, they discover some things don’t add up about the death of the young Lord. Worse, a man who won’t state his purpose, but is obviously military, wants a carte blanche to search the dead man’s library! The sheer effrontery!

What begins as sympathy and concern for a troubled neighbor escalates into a mystery with reverberations at the highest level of government.

Napoleon has escaped from Elba and someone has stolen a subsidy shipment meant for England’s allies in their renewed war against Napoleon. The shipment, a valuable mix of gold and guns, soon pits thief against thief and ally against ally with the Branstokes in the middle!

Instead of being on a blissful honeymoon, Sir James and Lady Cecilia Branstoke find themselves dodging knives, fires, and pistols as they search for the missing baronet and the stolen subsidies.

Maybe they should have traveled to the highlands for their honeymoon, as they’d told their friends had been their intention.

~ An Excerpt ~

“The ground is uneven here. It might be best if you stayed here while I search the area,” James suggested.

“No, I will accompany you. Two pairs of eyes. I shall be steady enough. If not, I shall just grab tightly on to you,” Cecilia said.

“And I should enjoy that,” her husband teased. “But be careful. There are fallen stones lying at odd angles that you could sprain an ankle on if you were to step oddly.”

“Yes, I can see that.”

They picked their way through the path of fallen stones toward the nave, wide open to the sky above with patches of blue and lavender and yellow wildflowers growing among the tall grasses shadowing the rocks.

“It is so beautiful and peaceful here,” Cecilia murmured. “Spiritual, though the church is long gone.”

“But not so spiritual that evil stays away,” James said grimly. He left Cecilia’s side to walk to a pile of stones beside a half-standing wall. He bent down to pick something up, then pushed the grass away from the rocks.

“What is it, James?” Cecilia asked as she hurried toward him.

He held out a lady’s glove.

“That’s Elinor’s!” Cecilia said.

He gestured back to the rocks. “There is evidence of blood on the rocks here. Not a lot, but it doesn’t show evidence of rain or time dilution, either. It is recent.”

Cecilia examined the rocks with their blood spatters. Then she looked around at the grass in the surrounding area. She found a few white threads as might come from ripped fabric. She pointed these out to James.

James looked beyond the rocks. “There is a trail,” he said, pointing to the trampled grasses leading to the back of the nave.

“It looks like whoever someone injured leaned against the wall here. There is a large smear of blood. By the location of the blood, I would guess it is from an arm or shoulder wound,” James said.

“Look, there is a bloody handprint.” Cecilia pointed to a partial handprint.

“A man’s hand.”

“Yes,” she agreed. “It appears Elinor bandaged whoever was injured, and then they left. I wonder if we can find traces of the direction they took?”

James glanced at the sky. “The clouds are building. We must hurry if we are to discover any signs of their direction before the weather changes and rain wipes all traces away.”

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Rarer-Than-Gold-Chance-Inquiry-ebook/dp/B096WLGYK8

About the Author

Holly Newman lives in Florida seven miles from the Gulf Coast with Ken and their six cats.

Holly decided to be a writer when she was in the fifth grade and filled notebooks with stories—until a mean-spirited high school teacher told her she had no talent for writing. Crushed, for several years she stopped writing, but the writing bug didn’t go away. Her first book won first place in the University of Texas at Dallas fiction writing competition and was first runner-up for the Rita award from Romance Writers of America.

Holly’s interest in the Regency period started in high school when she volunteered to re-shelve books at the community library. Every week there were Georgette Heyer novels to be shelved. Curious, she checked one out and became immersed in the world of the regency.

Website: Holly Newman | History, Mystery, Humor, and Romance . . . 19th Century Style

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HollyNewmanAuthor

Instagram: @hollynewman1811

Twitter: https://twitter.com/author_holly

Newsletter: Click on Perchance to Dream, to get a Georgian era fantasy short story for free with a newsletter sign-up

 

 

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/

 

 

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