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A truly scandalous liaison discovered!

A delicious bit of news recently came across this editor’s desk from a most reliable source. Knowing our readers at the Teatime Tattler, I had to rush to get this out for the morning edition that involved the upper ton!

I have it on the highest authority that a certain young Lady C, who recently made her debut just this season, was caught in a compromising situation at a house party with none other than Lord d C. Not only did half the ton witness their indiscretion as they frolicked at the entrance to a maze, but Lady C’s father, the Duke of A, watched in horror as his youngest daughter was all but ruined right before his eyes.

Lady C can say goodbye to her hopes of one day becoming a duchess. After this fiasco, she’ll have to settle on being a Countess instead.

scottish

Excerpt:

“I suspect, before long, we shall all be family, if Grace and your uncle have anything to say on the matter.” Adrian assumed there would be a wedding celebration in the near future.

“Do you think so?” she whispered, her eyes bright with excitement. “We would see each other often if they were to marry.”

Adrian cleared his throat, stepping several paces backwards to distance himself. She, in turn, advanced. “Yes, well… I suppose such may be the case. Time will tell.”

“Time… yes… time is all we need. Will you wait for me Lord de Courtenay… Adrian?”

“W-wait for you?” he stammered. “Where the devil is your chaperon?” Good Lord, what had he gotten himself into? This situation had gotten out of hand faster than he ever expected. He went around her to open the door, but the key was missing. Turning back, she waved what he needed.

“Looking for this?” she laughed.

The little scamp! “Lady Celia,” Adrian began, holding his palm upward. “The key, if you please.”

She laughed. “Oh, very well,” she replied, handing the shiny brass object over; it was still warm from her touch. “You do not have to be so formal. As you said, we might be related one day.”

Adrian turned the key in the lock and opened the door. “All the more reason to adhere to the rules of Society. You are the daughter of a duke and should not be alone with a single male, especially me.”

A giggle of girlish delight burst from her lips. “I am certain I am perfectly safe in your company, Adrian,” she said, dropping all formality between them.


The Earl Takes A Wife:
A de Courtenay Novella

Release date October 29, 2019
Pre-order for $0.99

It began with a memory etched in the heart.

Lady Celia Lacey is too young for a husband, especially man-about-town Lord Adrian de Courtenay. But when she meets him at a house party, she falls in love and cannot get him out of her mind. Will he ever think she is old enough to become his wife?

Adrian finds appealing innocent Lady Celia Lacey impossible to forget, though she is barely out of the schoolroom and a relative by marriage. If they are constantly in each other’s company, then how can he move on without her?

His sister’s deceptions bring them together but destroys their happiness. Can they reach past the hurt to the love that still burns?

The Earl Takes A Wife first appeared in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set, Valentines From Bath. It’s now available for individual sale.

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More about Sherry:

Sherry is proud to be one of the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

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A Found Horse and Missing Widow?

Dear gentle readers,

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

WIDOW

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

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

With fondest regards, dear readers ~ L.D.

About Pheme’s Regret

Can the darkest of betrayals ever be forgiven?

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

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

WIDOW

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LONDON

A Cross-eyed Spinster?

A Dispatch from our undercover reporter, Bellanna Banders

My Dearest readers,

It’s come to this reporter’s attention that the Viscount and Viscountess of Hallowell’s eldest daughter, Miss Olivia Redfield, has come out of hiding so that she may attend her sister’s wedding to the Duke of Crawford’s heir. This reporter has not personally laid eyes upon the young woman, but it is well known that Miss Redfield was born afflicted with one crossed eye, which, if the rumor is true, is cursed!

Spinster

Other ladies who attended the prewedding ball said the girl was seen lurking behind plants near the ladies retiring room and then later, hiding in the garden with Lord Kingsley, who has for years been betrothed to Miss Victoria Shipley, currently of London.

“She would be beautiful, of course, but for her unsightly eye. When it landed on me, I was terrified,” Lady G of Brighten shared her insights.

“What did she do to the earl to keep him at her side for so long? It has to be the curse, I say. It must be.” This startling statement was made by Lady Q.

Has the mysterious young woman cast a spell on the already claimed handsome Earl? This reporter, who has been invited to the nuptials, shall be watching carefully.

About The Perfect Spinster

Firmly Upon the Shelf

Miss Olivia Redfield labors under no misapprehension that anything other than spinsterhood lies in her future. Not for lack of dowry, or breeding, or education, but because of one tiny flaw…. one might even call it… a curse. Removed from society for this ill-fated defect, she’s resigned herself to caring for others in a somewhat dreary existence. Until, that is, she falls for the charming but unattainable, Lord Kingsley.

Too Much Time on his Hands

Gabriel Fellowes, Earl of Kingsley is doing a favor for a friend by overseeing the dangerous–– but promising––mine on the border of Viscount Hallowell’s property. With time to spare, he finds himself irresistibly intrigued by the viscount’s daughter, Miss Olivia Redfield, and delights himself in their mutual provocation. In no position to promise more than a dalliance, but unable to stay away, Gabriel takes the unprecedented step of befriending a woman.

Is Friendship Even possible?

Their flirtatious attachment threatens to erupt in passion, but duty and honor forbid anything more. Will love be defeated when tragedy strikes, or can Olivia and Gabriel overcome Society’s dictates and put the notion of Olivia’s curse to rest once and for all?

Spinster

***********

Excerpt:

Not moving his gaze from her face, he lifted the dandelion and traced it along the curve of her cheek.

Her chin.

And then her lips.

“Is this what friends do, Gabriel?” Her smile faded as she gazed back at him.

Friends? No. The thoughts in his mind had nothing to do with friendship.

And then she sighed and turned her face away. “I’ve never had a male friend before. Do you have many lady friends?”

He’d never been interested in friendship with the ladies of his acquaintance.  Pursuing such with most ladies of the ton might be considered dangerous.

Nonetheless, he had taken risks with a few widows and of course, some select lady birds of the demi monde. “A few.” He answered vaguely, drawing the petals along the corner of her eye now.

“Friends do not kiss, do they Gabriel?”

He chuckled. “Generally, no.”

But then he trailed the flower to the pink flesh of her lips, and when her mouth parted for him, all thoughts of laughter fled.

“You wish to kiss me now, don’t you?” Her voice dropped to almost a whisper and her slightly hooded gaze met his with unabashed honesty. “I am not mistaken. You are very close to me. There is something…” Her voice trailed off as she seemed to search for the words.

“Something?” Her innocence delighted him.

“Heavy.” She said. “Warm.”

“In the air?”

“No.” Her eyes narrowed slightly. “You.”

“The Perfect Spinster has left me desperate to read more from Annabelle Anders.”––Bibliophile Ramblings.  

Do you like heroines with flaws? Heroes who have a lot to learn? Miss Olivia Redfield is a lovely lady but for one tiny defect. Lord Kingsley has good intentions but can’t seem to stick with them… Is it possible these two imperfect souls are love’s perfect match?

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SK8L6GV

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07SK8L6GV

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07SK8L6GV

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07SK8L6GV

You can follow Annabelle Anders at any (or all) of the following links:

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TWITTER https://twitter.com/AnnabellReadLuv/

Romantic Highlander? A Foolish Fancy

Dear Reader, it has come to the attention of the Teatime Tattler that a shocking new fancy has overtaken certain young ladies who might otherwise have been considered diamonds of the first water. Namely, they have forgotten that the current romantic view of the Scottish Highlands, so carefully fostered by Sir Walter Scott, is not a true representation of that barbaric region. Even our finest families have been corrupted! We have heard from a most reliable source that an actual savage Highlander not only attended the presentation ball of Miss Darcy in the very presence of the Earl and Countess of Matlock, but was actually seen in cordial conversation with them both! Rumor has it that this young gentleman, if one can use such a term, is a connection of the new Mrs. Darcy, whose family was quite deserved unknown prior to her unexpected marriage, so perhaps they felt obliged to invite him. But there is no excuse for the behavior of a flock of young ladies who ought to have known better than to desperately seek introductions to this so-called laird.

Signed, A Concerned Citizen

Highlander

About the Book: A Matter of Honor

Pride & Prejudice goes to Scotland!

When Fitzwilliam Darcy, still smarting from Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection, discovers she was forced to flee her home in disgrace owing to his actions, his course is clear. He must marry her. It is a matter of honor. All he has to do is find her and propose. Surely that will be simple enough.

But Elizabeth does not want to be found, especially not by Darcy. From the moment he entered her life, he has caused disaster after disaster. Now he has followed her all the way to Scotland, foolishly certain it’s within his power to fix all her problems. But far more is at stake than Darcy knows.

Darcy’s quest takes him from backstage at Edinburgh’s Theatre Royal to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, where mysterious Highlanders prove both friend and enemy. And now his search risks exposing long-hidden secrets that threaten his happiness and her future.

On the run and in danger, Elizabeth is forced to make impossible choices to protect those whom she loves – including Darcy. Her growing attraction to him is at war with her need for caution, and the stakes are impossibly high. Can she trust him to continue to fight for her protection when he knows the whole truth? And if he does, will it be for love… or will it be merely a matter of honor?

HIGHLANDER

Excerpt from A Matter of Honor

“Here you are, sir.” Elizabeth handed a cup of Christmas punch to Mr. Siddons. “Happy Christmas.”

“And to you as well.” The theatre manager raised his glass to her. “I look forward to this dinner every year. It is almost like being back in England.”

“But with a much smaller Yule log.” Elizabeth nodded to the elegant fireplace which barely held a moderate-sized log.

He chuckled. “Indeed so.”

Elizabeth ladled out a new glass of punch, turned to the next guest, and almost dropped the glass. It would have slid through her fingers had not a hand reached out and steadied it.

It was Mr. Darcy’s hand. What in God’s name was he doing here?

“How clumsy of me!” she said hastily. “You saved me from spilling punch everywhere. Let me see – are you not Mr. Fitzpatrick’s friend?”

His dark gaze enveloped her. In a low, intense voice, he said, “It is Christmas, Miss Elizabeth. I will say nothing to anyone, but I beg of you not to pretend. Not today.” His fingers brushed hers as he accepted a glass of punch.

A week ago he had practically ignored her at the theatre, and now this! Should she admit it? He had already guessed it, and her reaction to discovering his presence would have given her away in any case. So much was at stake, but there could be no one at her aunt’s Christmas dinner who would report on her. And it seemed to mean something to him, given the way he was studying her.

Elizabeth forced her shoulders to relax. “For Christmas. As long as you tell no one.”

A light leapt in his dark eyes. “I thank you.” He raised his glass. “To your very good health and happiness.” He touched the glass to his lips.

She ducked her head in acknowledgment. With trembling hands, she filled another glass with punch and held it out to the next guest.

Mr. Darcy took the hint and moved away. Elizabeth deliberately did not watch where he went. Not that there would be much doubt about it since he had only one friend there and everyone else in the room was far beneath his notice. It would doubtless be a repeat of the Meryton assembly where he had spoken only to members of his own party. Her lips twitched. That would not serve him well in this crowd of theatricals.

When she finally dared to look across the drawing room, she was astonished to find Mr. Darcy in close conversation with her aunt and Mr. Siddons. Not only that, but he appeared amused by something she had said.

What astonishing behavior! Surely her words of reproof at Hunsford could not have worked such a miraculous change! Perhaps it was not a change, though. Mr. Darcy might feel obliged to be polite to his hostess, no matter how much he disdained her.

At least it was safer that way. Nothing Mr. Darcy could reveal about Elizabeth would be a surprise to her aunt. She was not over-worried that he would disclose her past, though. He had said he would not. He might be proud, resentful, and ill-tempered, but she had never known him to be dishonest. No, Jasper had said he was not ill-tempered. What a puzzle Mr. Darcy was!

Soon there were no more guests to serve. Two actresses remained by the punch bowl to converse with her. She usually enjoyed their company, but today she could not forget the gentleman sitting across the room.

Then he was no longer sitting across the room, but beside her and offering his arm. “Miss Merton, would you do me the honor of going in to dinner with me?” He stumbled slightly over her new name.

“Of course.” She could not refuse him without being utterly rude. Even though the last thing she wished for was to spend time with him, she would have to tolerate it. Perhaps it would give her the opportunity to discover what he wanted from her and to convince him to stay away. She placed her hand on his arm. Somehow even that small contact felt intimate.

What could Mr. Darcy mean by this particular attention to her? After she refused his proposal so bitterly, she would have expected him to avoid her company, as he had that day at the theatre. Perhaps he knew so few people in Scotland that even her acquaintance was tolerable, but he would have to be terribly lonely before he would choose to spend his time with the woman who had summarily rejected his hand and heart!

She risked a glance at his face. He did not appear particularly pleased with her company, but his features showed no extraordinary resentment either. Perhaps there was no other woman present whom he felt comfortable enough to sit with at dinner. In this gathering, he would likely wish to avoid revealing too much about his background. A wealthy gentleman would be too much of a target.

It was impossible that he could still care for her, but on the slight chance he did, it behooved her to behave kindly towards him. She had no regrets about having refused him, but she had long rued how bitterly and hurtfully she had done so. Even though she did not want his attentions now, she had no desire to hurt him more than she already had.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Matter-Honor-Pride-Prejudice-Variation-ebook/dp/B07WFK92FQ

About the Author

Abigail Reynolds may be a nationally bestselling author and a physician, but she can’t follow a straight line with a ruler. She studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing to retain her sanity during her years as a physician in private practice.

A life-long lover of Jane Austen’s novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod. Her most recent releases are Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment, Conceit & Concealment, Mr. Darcy’s Journey, and Alone with Mr. Darcy. Her books have been translated into six languages. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband, her son and a menagerie of animals. Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house.

Website: http://www.pemberleyvariations.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abigail.reynolds1

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/abigailreynoldswriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abigailreynolds

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/559634.Abigail_Reynolds

Local Thief Spots Apparition

Your humble correspondent, journalist for The Teatime Tattler, begs leave to draw notice to Mr. Algernon Cuffy, sometime resident of St. James’s Square, as he describes an alarming encounter with a strange apparition on the night of London’s latest fog.

apparition
Pissarro, Place du Theatre, 1897

“I’m a thief. Write that down, plain and simple. Poverty might have driven some other poor blighters to a life on the hop but I have, you might say, a natural bent.”

Though a bit of a Renaissance man in all the arts of financial misappropriation, Mr. Cuffy likes housebreaking the most.

“Pickpocketing is for children and women—pathetic types who can look sorrowful like Mother Mary or an orphaned lamb. But I got this here,” he said, tracing a finger down a four inch scar running to his left ear, part of which was missing. “Don’t look harmless enough for work at close quarters, now, do I? Anyone with any brains would know to steer clear of me.”

Your humble correspondent backed away as he continued.

“An’ then there’s highway robbery. You’ve got travel and horse fairs and boxing mills and lonely moors—all well and good,” he said, detailing his interests. “But you’d be surprised how few coves are worth getting hung for.”

Your humble correspondent could not but agree.

“The night in question—” your correspondent began, hopeful that Mr. Cuffy would return to ghosts and spirits.

“There’s an art to housebreaking,” Mr. Cuffy continued, warming to his subject. “Liking the name of a street, following a likely looking coach home to its roost… Best to stay clear of the poshest squares. That night, conditions were perfect,” he said, tugging his cap on.

Your humble correspondent dared a question and he obliged with an answer.

“Dark. Dark as coal. An’ fog like soup. I was on the damp roof tiles of Lord Fox’s establishment—”

Readers will imagine an elegant white house in the Georgian style.

“—full to the gills with lacquered snuff boxes and jeweled tie pins, and like most bachelor’s quarters, lax about the housekeeping. I was preparing to ease myself into the empty bedroom of the recently dismissed second footman. That’s when I saw her.”

“What?” your correspondent exclaimed. 

“Pretty young thing. Loose hair, white dress. I dashed near dropped forty feet to the pavement when she rose up out of mist. I could see clear as day that she wasn’t a ghost.”

“She must have been a ghost,” I insisted. “People do not fly.”

Apparition
Russolo, The Solidity of Fog. 1912

“She wasn’t flying,” Mr. Cuffy said, his look quite insulting to the junior correspondent of London’s seventh most popular daily newspaper. “Just sort of floated for a while. Took a good look towards Westminster on the river and another over towards St. Paul’s.”

“And then?” I asked, scribbling hastily.

“Then there was a shout from below and she disappeared into the fog again.”

“Where you drunk?” I asked.

Mr. Cuffy gave no proper answer but resorted to his fists. Thus concluded our interview.

About the Book: Her Caprice

A MOST PRIVATE BATTLE

Since Beatrice Thornton was 13 years old she’s been living with a secret that could ruin her family forever. Her parents are the only ones who know, and now, seven years later, they are forced to put on a sham for Beatrice’s late first Season. The plan, make Beatrice as mousy and ill-clothed as possible so no suitor would consider her. Then they can all escape back to their country home in Dorset to keep the terrible secret safe. But the unthinkable happens… Beatrice meets a man who gives her hope of a normal life, and Beatrice dares to love with horrible consequences.

Captain Henry Gracechurch has resigned his commission after living through the horrors and waste of war. Recently returned from Spain, he is cajoled by his formidable godmother to make an appearance at one of her famous balls. When he sees a young woman abandoned on the dance floor, honour commands him to save the day. Nothing could have prepared him for meeting the person who is a balm to his soul and gives wings to his heart. But winning Beatrice Thornton will take every ounce of courage he has, and this is a war he will win, no matter the cost.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07N9B81QR

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130437723?ean=2940155962496

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/920856

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/her-caprice

Her Caprice, Excerpt:

Beatrice was left alone to take in the whole scene. It was familiar to her, in a way. She had seen illustrations of balloons before, studied them closely from books and newspapers. The flying machine could do what she did, and yet there were reasons for it, purposes, a whole science, explanations of the mechanics.

“It’s magical,” a deep voice intoned at her side. She looked up to find Henry standing next to her as if he had always been there. Beatrice felt the solid ground she stood on almost melt away.

Quarry stone, the involuntary thought flitted through her mind, and she blinked, feeling herself grow heavy and pressed more firmly into the grass. That was strange. It was not as though she had been about to float away at the mere sight of him in the middle of a bustling London crowd. What a silly thing to think. She shook her head and met his eyes.

There was the usual delight she felt each time she saw him that sent her insides spinning, but it was tempered by the knowledge that he had not called. It was the merest chance that brought him here.

“It’s not magic,” she retorted, swallowing deeply. Six days since she’d last seen him. He had no right to look like he hadn’t been wasting away. Drat. “It’s hydrogen. The gas is produced when sulphuric acid is poured over scrap iron. How did you happen across me in this crowd?” she asked, thankful for the cool morning air, which would be a plausible reason for her pink cheeks.

“Magic,” he asserted, offering her an arm, which she took. He did not lead her anywhere but stood, gazing up at the activity on the rise. “Have you been busy these past days?”

Busy? She felt the shame of returning home each afternoon, her eyes hungry for some sign that he had come. “This and that,” she answered, hoping with all her heart that her tone conveyed a calendar too full for waiting and longing.

He looked down at her. “You’ve not been at home,” he stated.

It wasn’t a question. The damp ground at the bottom of the hill began to seep through her slippers, but she would not move for anything. “No. My mother had a sudden enthusiasm to see everything in Town. I am not sure the carriage horses can take much more. You?”

“I passed your door, hoping that—”

“You called?” The surprise of it made her yelp.

“I said I would.”

Beatrice looked up at him. “You left no sign,” she stated while feeling great relief. Forgetting to leave a card—it was endearing, though it had cost her the enjoyment of racing through the maze at Hampton Court, of savouring the ice at Gunter’s.

His head cocked to the side and his brows came down. “But I—” And then his lips shut into a firm line.

Beatrice waited for him to finish and then, finally, when it was clear he would say no more, the wheels in her mind began to turn. She looked up the hill again to where the balloonist had given Penny a small parcel, some silk fabric full of hydrogen. Her sister let it go and, as it drifted up and up, it moved in easy state, tossed lightly by sudden currents of wind. The crowd let out a great cheer, and in that clamour, Beatrice whispered, “You did leave a card, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

Penny waved to her as she dashed down the hill and away toward the carriage.

Beatrice lowered her brows. She might have missed the card in her meticulous search of the entry hall, when she had turned each paper over and over, upending the tray and running her fingers along the back of the table, and then closely questioned the townhouse staff. It would not be so amazing if she lost— “Just the one?”

“One each time I visited.”

“Each? What do you mean? How many times was it?” she asked, her words tripping over themselves.

His look was keen. “Seven,” he answered and then his mouth lifted. “I’m almost out of cards.”

She answered quickly. “But it’s been six days.”

“Exactly six? Has it?” he asked, his eyes narrowing like a cat on the trail of a limping mouse. “How clever you are to know the precise number. I came twice on Wednesday.”

Beatrice put a hand to her pelisse, fastening and unfastening the button. Seven cards. Seven messages scrawled on the back. Seven times he had come. Seven times. She couldn’t let the number go. A girl might have her head turned by a thing like that.

Henry didn’t say another word, and merely waited for her to work it out—though the way his eyes studied her face wasn’t helping her concentration at all. It set her blood to warming and her mind to wondering if the world really would come crashing to an end if she leaned up on her tiptoes and kissed him on those firm lips.

About the Author

Keira Dominguez graduated from BYU with a B.A. in Humanities and lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. When she is not busy avoiding volunteerism at her kids’ schools like it is the literal plague, she writes sweet romance novels.

https://www.keiradominguez.com/

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