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The Sword of the Maid

3oth of August, 1815

Dearest Eliza,

Joan the Maid by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I fear my quest for the sword that may have once belonged to The Maid of Orléans will be hindered by the presence of Lord Maxwell Trent. I foolishly believed that he knew nothing of the sword, and trusted that when he boarded the ship in Cornwall, that he’d be well on his way to Italy by now. It was all a ruse. He didn’t want me to know about the sword. I only discovered his duplicity when he arrived at the home of Lord Crispin Tilson, who had written not only to me about the rumor, but Max as well.

As you know, Max and I have often competed when in search of antiquities. However, this quest will prove to be far more difficult than those in the past. You see, there are dangerous men who are also in search of the sword. We’ve unfortunately encountered them previously, and they do not hesitate to use any means necessary to gain information or the antiquity for their employer. Already one shopkeeper has been harmed due to this search. Therefore, Max and I have reluctantly agreed to work together.

I can assure you that this will not be a pleasant task for Lord Maxwell feels the need to protect me. He claims my reckless nature, which I do not possess, will lead us into danger. Of course, I felt the need to remind him that I was the one who rescued him from a miscreant earlier in the day.

This is going to be by far the most trying quest, but because of the added dangers we have agreed to be partners this one time. I can only pray that we find the sword quickly so that we may go our separate ways.

Your dearest friend, Rosemary

About the Book, Lord Maxwell’s Quest

Lord Maxwell Trent has never remained in one place for long. His fascination for history and quest for antiquities has taken him from Pompeii to Greece to Egypt, and now the search of an ancient sword has brought him to London—and back into Miss Rosemary Fairview’s orbit.

Miss Fairview has always valued her independence. Raised by travel-mad parents and fascinated by her mother’s archaeological journals, she knew that she’d never be content to settle into the dull life of running a household. When word of the lost sword brings Rosemary to London, she finds herself in pursuit of the same relic as her nemesis, Lord Maxwell Trent.

They know it’s impossible the sword once belonged to The Maid of Orléans. But that one sliver of hope, the what-if, propels them on the quest to discover the truth.

Danger stalks them from Mayfair’s drawing rooms to the maze of London’s rookeries. Can they work together to find the sword—and to survive? And will they realize that perhaps they shouldn’t have been competitors at all, but something more?

AN EXCERPT

“It’s a pleasure to see you again, Miss Fairview.” His tone cool and polite.

He was still angry. “But we both know that it is not,” she smiled at him.

“Yes well, it’s best not to deceive oneself,” Maxwell muttered and strode toward the sideboard and poured a glass of brandy. “Did you make good on your promise and deliver the scroll you stole from me to the Vatican.”

She gasped. “I did not steal from you, Lord Maxwell. I simply found it before you had a chance to do so. And yes, I delivered it to the good Father.”

Maxwell snorted. “Stole,” he muttered under his breath.

Rosemary had found it first, as he well knew, so why was he grumbling about her stealing?

Except, Max didn’t really mean him. He was angry that she had taken the scroll from Jerusalem. However, she had more faith in the priests at the Vatican than he did, and as soon as the translation was provided, she’d return the scroll to Palestine and deliver it to the rightful owner. It was that simple.

Max returned to her side, now holding a glass of brandy, and stared down at her. Rosemary’s breath hitched as she looked up into his blue eyes.

Blast, she shouldn’t react to him at all, but she did. He was both aggravating and handsome and it irritated her that she was affected by his presence at all. It was an attraction she was almost able to set aside when seeking and finding antiquities, but in settings such as this, taking tea, she became all too aware of how much she desired him, and had for several years. This was also the very setting when she’d first met him. She’d only been a girl of thirteen, but infatuation for the rogue had taken root and remained a constant companion.

She’d also never let him know that he had any effect on her whatsoever.

“A word, Miss Fairview,” Max ground out.

Rosemary blew out a sigh and set her tea aside before she followed him out onto the terrace.

“Why did you just lie to everyone and accuse me of theft?” she demanded.

“Because I couldn’t tell them the true reason why I’m angry because it would put your reputation in jeopardy.”

Rosemary blinked at him. “Reputation?”

He hitched a brow.

“Oh, you mean that I snuck out of your chamber, with the scroll, after spending the night with you and without so much as a by your leave?” She grinned. “Like a lover sneaking away after a night of passion?”

He quickly glanced around. “Please lower your voice before someone thinks we are lovers.”

It stung that he’d be embarrassed or ashamed if someone thought he’d been with her. Or it could be because he was respectable. Sometimes Max was more prudish than the few matrons she’d met in Society.

“That is exactly to what I’m referring. Your disappearance that is,” he added.

“I left you a note,” Rosemary reminded him.

BUY LINKS: https://books2read.com/u/bzdpV9

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Jane Charles is a prolific writer of over fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. Her love of research lends authenticity to her Regency romances, and her experience directing theatre productions helps her craft beautiful, touching stories that tug at the heartstrings. Jane is an upbeat and positive author dedicated to giving her characters happy-ever-afters and leaving the readers satisfied at the end of an emotional journey. Lifelong Cubs fan, world traveler and mother of three amazing children, Jane lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She is currently writing her next book and planning her dream trip to England. Be sure to join Jane on Facebook @JaneCharlesAuthor and join her private reader group Romance and Rosé https://www.facebook.com/groups/romanceandrose. More information on her books can be found on her website: https://www.janecharlesauthor.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Just Between Friends

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

8th of July, 1809, Camberley, Surrey

Dearest Genie,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your dearest friend, Lina

About Book One, Dangerous Pursuit

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

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

Dangerous Pursuit is on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase here

About Book Two, Dangerous Liaison

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

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

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

Dangerous Liaison is on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase here

About the Author

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

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

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

www.annchaney.com

Enquiring minds want to know…

Dear Mr. Clemens:

You will be pleased to be informed that the latest gossip that will hit Society once you publish the information I now divulge will have sales of the Teatime Tattler soaring.

My sister and I were witness to none other than Lady Roselyn Winslow rushing from a house party in tears. One can only assume what she may have witnessed with her duke and his ex-mistress hiding away in a closed room. From the look on the Duke of Hartford’s face once he emerged to race after Lady Roselyn, he was none too pleased. And his mistress you might ask? Well, she appeared as though there was more going on between her and the duke than just a conversation!

 I know you will see that such a juicy bit of tittle-tattle will not be hidden away from the enquiring minds of the ton.

Sincerely,
Lady Abigail Danver

Abigail looked up while her sister Prudence read the letter over her shoulder. “Will it do?” she asked.

Prudence giggled. “It will do very nicely, Abigail. Well done.”

Abigail nodded and folded the letter. Sealing it with wax, she rang for a servant to deliver it to Mr. Clemens. She was certain Mr. C. would want such information no matter how late in the evening it was so he could include it in the morning edition of his lovely paper.


One Moment In Time
A Family of Worth, Book Two
Special pre-order price of $2.99

Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing is pleased to announce that One Moment In Time: A Family of Worth, Book Two is now available for pre-order. Get your copy at the special pre-order price of only $2.99!

One moment in time may be enough, if it lasts forever…

When the man Lady Roselyn Ann Winslow has loved since she was a young girl begins to court her, Roselyn thinks all her dreams have come true… until the dream turns into a nightmare.

Lady Roselyn is everything Edmond Worthington, 9th Duke of Hartford, could ask for in a wife and he is delighted to find she returns his love… until he loses her, not once but twice.

From England’s ballrooms, to Berwyck Castle and a tropical island that is anything but paradise, Edmond and Roselyn face ruthless enemies who will do anything to tear them apart. Can they recover their one moment in time?

Buy links:

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Bio:

Sherry Ewing 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 at night. You can learn more about Sherry and her published work at the links below.

Find Sherry Ewing at:

Website & Books: www.SherryEwing.com
Bluestocking Belles: https://bluestockingbelles.net/
Hearts Through Time: http://heartsthroughtime.com
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1TrWtoy
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sherry-ewing
Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/SherryEwingAuthor
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomsherry_ewing
Instagram: https://instagram.com/sherry.ewing
Pinterest: http://www.Pinterest.com/SherryLEwing
Tumblr: https://sherryewing.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://www.Twitter.com/Sherry_Ewing

A Kidnap Threat To The Ambassador to the Kingdom of Two Naples!

Despatches from Palermo (1810)
by Lord William Bentinck, English Ambassador to the Kingdom of Two Naples

Lord William Bentinck, pictured here as Captain in a portrait painted by George Romney. William Bentinck was ambassador to the Kingdom of Two Naples 1812-1816

My dear Lord Chamberlain,
I enclose this letter to you privately, so it will not appear in official correspondence.

I find myself the subject of a most extraordinary plot – one of kidnap on the high seas.

As you know, I have entered delicate negotiations with the Bey of Tunis for the release of more than three hundred Sicilians who were forcibly abducted from their home by the corsairs of the Barbary Coast.

Not only is it a matter of justice, but freeing of these unfortunate souls would also build immeasurable goodwill among the people whose interest I am trying to further with my reforms.

So far, standard diplomatic tactics have proved fruitless with the Bey. I don’t know if you are familiar with this culture but it appears to be the custom for the all the promises in the world to be made but when it comes time to deliver, it is a never ending litany of excuses.

With Napoleon’s Empire at my back in Naples and the Barbary Coast Pirates at my front, it is no easy task set before me. You know of my penchant to follow my intuition and I have done so once again with two young men.

Let’s hope Captain Hardacre can deal with the captured French Frigate in a less spectacular manner.

Captain Christopher Hardacre is an Englishman who runs a merchant vessel out of Palermo. He’s come to me with the most extraordinary tale. It seems one of the pirates has acquired a French frigate and he harbours ambitions to abduct me and my wife and hold us for ransom.

It sounded like a ravings of a mad man – and I have to confess that if was just his testimony alone I’d ignore it, but in Hardacre’s favour is one of his men, an African by the name of Jonathan Afua who I’ve come to learn is a son of one of Ethiopia’s most aristocratic families. He strikes me as being a much more steady character than his captain. It is his grave assessment I’ve learned to trust.

As for the abduction threat, Hardacre has hatched an audacious plan to keep me safe in exchange for the claiming the French frigate for himself as spoils.

Whether Hardacre succeeds or not is immaterial as I have appraised Admiral Freemantle who has agreed that the next meeting with the Bey of Tunis should be done as a show of force so we will be arriving in Tunisia with a fleet that also contains the flagship The Milford.

I’ll write when I have more news,

William

 

Excerpt

Shadow of the Corsairs

Bagrada

Shadow of the Corsairs – out June 26 2018 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DM9VJ5Z

Jonathan’s stomach soured.

Even though it had been more than a year since his captivity there, the very sound of its name reminded him there was work still to finish, a past that could not draw to a close until he had answers.

“Bagrada. Are you sure?” Elias asked. “We’ve sailed by several times over the past six months and there’s no noteworthy activity there.”

Hardacre looked up from the map of the Tunisian coastline. “Sharrouf is certain.”

Elias snorted and folded his arms. “I think you put too much stock in what that man says. He’s a snake, Kit, and he’s not to be trusted.”

“I never said he was to be trusted. He might very well hate Kaddouri as much as we do. But so long as he is a member of the inner circle, then he is useful to us.”

“Unless Kaddouri is using him to lure us into a trap,” countered the first officer. “We’ve stopped three of his raids over the past twelve months and helped free more than a hundred enslaved souls. He’d be just as keen to see the end of us.”

Jonathan shook his head. Kit and Elias bickered like he and his older brother used to. It was time for him to step in.

“What’s Sharrouf getting in exchange for telling you the location of Kaddouri’s fleet?” he asked.

“Information here and there to help with something.”

“Which is?”

“Kidnapping Lord William Bentinck.”

“You jest!”

Hardacre said nothing for a moment. The upturn of his lip was trouble, Jonathan knew that, and so did Elias who turned away with an exaggerated groan.

“Go on,” said Jonathan. “Tell us the whole thing before you make Elias’ head explode.”

“I might not have been completely honest with Sharrouf,” Hardacre confessed. This time, both ends of his mouth lifted and there was a twinkle of manic glee in his eyes. “I told him Bentinck plans another trip to Tunis to petition for the release of the Sicilian slaves, but I neglected to tell him Bentinck’s going with a show of strength instead of taking one ship with a single escort. Accompanying The Milford will be a dozen heavily-armed ships from the Royal Navy.”

“And both Bentinck and Admiral Fremantle know to expect an attack,” Jonathan concluded. “That’s a good plan. What makes you sure Kaddouri will take the bait?”

“Oh, he will. Sharrouf has told me he’s just managed to acquire a double gunned frigate.”

Elias rocked back on his feet. “How has he managed to get one of those? That would carry almost as much firepower as The Milford.”

Hearts and Diamonds At Risk

Ask Aunt Augusta

Dear Aunt Agatha,
I am a young lady with a dilemma. I think one of my dearest friends is going to propose marriage.

You might ask how I know, but one goes not need to be a Scotland Yard detective to see the signs – a particular look, a request for a private interview, hints made at a jewellers…

Now for some, this would be a delightful proposition, but as much as I am fond of my dear friend, I am not in love with him. So how can I kindly  refuse him without ruining our friendship and causing distress to his family and mine?

And secondly, how does a man disappear with an arm full of diamonds without leaving a trace?

Your faithful reader,
Caro A.

Dear Miss C,
My goodness what a conundrum you have my dear!

Let us address your problems one at a time.

Yes indeed, if everything is as you say, then it would appear that your male friend indeed may be proposing marriage but are you sure who the intended bride will be?

Are there other young ladies in your circle of acquaintance you can confide in to see if they concur with your tell-tale signs.

If they are in agreement, then you must break the news as gently as you can to your poor swain, assuring him that the fault is not is, but rather a woman’s heart is a fickle thing.

Have you asked any of your female friends how they feel about your unintended intended? A little matchmaking to nudge cupid along, might be just thing to help two people who truly do belong together.

As to your second question, I cannot answer for the male sex.

For the female of the species, the answer is two fold. One, to obtain an armful of diamonds, she must inherit or marry very well – preferably several times over. Secondly, a woman with such an armful, shows them off and so does not disappear without a trace.

Indeed, that is a question for Scotland Yard.

I wish you the very best,
Aunt Agatha

About The Thief of Hearts

The Thief Of Hearts. This Christmas is going to be magic!

December 1890. London, England.
Some seriously clever sleight of hand is needed if aspiring lawyer Caro Addison is ever going to enjoy this Christmas. To avoid an unwanted marriage proposal, she needs a distraction as neat as the tricks used by The Phantom, the audacious diamond thief who has left Scotland Yard clueless.
While her detective inspector uncle methodically hunts the villain, Caro decides to investigate a suspect of her own – the handsome Tobias Black, a magician extraordinaire, known as The Dark Duke. He’s the only one with the means, motive and opportunity but the art of illusion means not everything is as it seems, in both crime and affairs of the heart.
As Christmas Day draws near, Caro must decide whether it is worth risking reputations and friendships in order to follow her desires.

Available on Amazon

Excerpt

Caro’s butterflies returned as Bertie led her into the jeweller’s.

“Miss Caroline! A pleasure to see you again,” said the jeweller. “I hope you’ve come to tell me that you’ve single-handedly apprehended The Phantom.”

“Alas not, Mr Hargreaves,” she answered, “that is most certainly a job best left for the police. I’m here on a professional matter – your profession.”

Bertie looked up from the glass case in front of him.

“May I see the rings in that tray please?”

Mr Hargreaves was only too happy to oblige.

Bertie fingered row upon row of rings before pulling out two. The first was an oval cut sapphire – from Ceylon, the jeweller informed them – surrounded with round diamonds and mounted in gold. The second gold ring featured a faceted stone that shone pinks, blues and greens – Alexandrite, Caro learned – and that stone was surrounded by tiny seed pearls.

Bertie held them both out to Caro.

“You’re really good at hypotheticals, Caro, so let me try this one on you. If you were going to be surprised with a ring, which one would you prefer?”

Caro quelled her nerves and gave the question serious thought before answering.

“Both rings are absolutely beautiful, but I don’t think it would be much of a surprise if the girl knew she was getting a choice!”

Bertie shook his head with a smile and swept away the fringe that flopped over his brow.

“Seriously? You’re not going to tell me which one I ought to get?”

“I’m not the one proposing – you’re going to have to do that for yourself.” Caro grew serious. “But, this being a purely hypothetical question, let me put it back onto you. When you think of the girl you are planning to surprise, which ring reminds you of her?”

Bertie looked thoughtful for a moment and turned back to Mr Hargreaves.

“Could you put these two rings aside for me for the next few days, while I think about it?”

About the author

Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats. 

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