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Tag: Regency romance (Page 1 of 16)

Asking For A Friend…

Dear Mr Clemens,

I have a friend who is at her wits end and doesn’t know what to do, but she enjoys your newspaper even if she can only read it very slowly and has seen you have offered your sage advice to many others before her. I shan’t tell you her name because the situation is very delicate, and she is likely very soon to become engaged to a Duke, so I must preserve her good reputation.

asking for a friendI say likely, because the whole ton expects the announcement eagerly, and they have done for over a year. I cannot imagine why he is dragging his feet because my friend is considered very beautiful and charming. Yet not only has he failed to ask her, he’s also never bothered trying to steal a kiss either which is very odd. Especially as she’s lauded as an incomparable and had men queuing for her hand before the duke came along.

In truth, he rather scared everyone else off and I had my head turned… I mean my friend did. Who wouldn’t want to marry a duke? Even if this one is a little dull and pads his jackets… only talks about himself…

But I digress, because whilst my friend has been doing absolutely everything in her power- short of smacking him across his arrogant head with her fan to chivvy him into a proposal- there has been another complication.

An unforeseen, unexpected and utterly thrilling complication.

She’s met another man and is inexplicably drawn to him. He’s not noble- not by any chalk- but he is kind and handsome, painfully shy and most definitely does not need to pad out his jacket! I know this because I accidentally encountered him stripped to the waist at my sister’s house a few months ago and I have been entirely unable to dismiss the scandalously magnificent picture of his manly body from my mind.

And he’s a spy! On an important government mission. A secret he entrusted only to me… I mean my friend… when she recognized him pretending to be someone else. Now she is helping him navigate the murky waters of society, a place he feels very uncomfortable within, and in return he is going to make my, er, the duke jealous to hasten the anticipated engagement. Which is marvellous, I suppose, although I’m not entirely sure I want things sped along now that I’ve met Seb… I mean since she met him.

What should my friend do?

Yours sincerely

Befuddled of Berkeley Square

About the Book, The Mysterious Lord Millcroft

Life as a duchess… Or something much more dangerous…?

Constantly told her beauty and charm is all she has to offer, Lady Clarissa is intent on marrying a duke. And intriguing spy Sebastian Leatham will help her! Only first she’ll assist him with his new assignment—playing the part of confident aristocrat Lord Millcroft. Sebastian awakens a burning desire within Clarissa which leaves her questioning whether becoming a duchess is what she truly longs for…
Purchase on Amazon

About the Author

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. But it still takes her ages to fall asleep.

Website: https://www.virginiaheathromance.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/virginiaheathauthor/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VirginiaHeath_

 

Ghostly Gossip

ghostLady Bell invited Mr. Tilson to tea not because she likes him, but to hear about a ghost. I had learned a little about the specter from friends in Carlisle, and she wanted to know more. Unfortunately, Mr. Tilson didn’t want to discuss ghosts. He preferred to backbite about living people.

“All the Warrens are scandalous, absolutely scandalous,” Mr. Tilson told us. “From Lord Garrison to his sister to his cousins, they’re simply dreadful. It’s in their blood.”

There is a certain amount of truth to this. Lord Garrison and his kinfolk do tend to live by their own rules, but they are also far more fun than most people with whom I’m acquainted.

“Surely not.” Lady Bell motioned to me to pour Mr. Tilson a second cup of tea. “Thomasina Warren is a charming girl, so perfectly behaved that she is known as The One Good Warren. She would have made you an excellent wife.”

“So I thought.” Mr. Tilson heaved a sigh redolent of the seed cake with which he had stuffed himself. “But when I questioned her sternly with the full force of my manly intellect, Miss Warren herself admitted to the taint.” He took a breath. “In fact, she confessed to an uncontrollable urge to sin.”

I ask you, how likely is that?

Her ladyship glowered at him. “What nonsense. No innocent maiden would say anything of the kind.”

Particularly to a stodgy sort like Tilson.

“I do beg your pardon,” he murmured. “It was the truth, but I shouldn’t have mentioned something so unsavory in the presence of ladies.”

He sighed again, and I moved as far as possible from him on the sofa. I like seed cake, but not at second hand.

“I have heard that Miss Warren doesn’t wish to marry,” I said.

“Nonsense, my dear Clara,” Lady Bell said. “Every young woman wishes to do so.” She simply will not accept the fact that I have never been tempted to exchange my comfortable single state for submission to some tedious male.

Ghost“Miss Warren knows full well that she is unmarriageable,” Mr. Tilson said. “Her conniving father tried to trap me into wedding her. Much as I pity her, I was fortunate to escape before I found myself tied to her forever.” He was enjoying himself, which is in frightfully bad taste. How vile to denigrate the former object of his affection!

It was obvious to me that Miss Warren was the one who had escaped. What’s worse, now he gazed at me with a warm expression in his eyes.

Lady Bell gave a smug little smile. Good God, was she thinking I might like to wed this bore?

Time to change the subject. I assumed an expression of trepidatious inquiry. “Earlier, her ladyship mentioned something about a ghost at Hearth House.”

Lady Bell set down her teacup. She is an enthusiastic believer in the supernatural. “Yes, a Roman soldier who patrols Hadrian’s Wall. He carries a spear and threatens anyone who comes near.” She paused, twinkling. “Except courting couples of whom he approves.”

“Now, now, my lady,” Mr. Tilson said. “You will have your little jest, but ghosts do not exist. Old houses like Hearth House tend to creak and groan, especially in cold weather.”

I put on an innocent face. “I was told that you made banishing the ghost a condition of marrying Miss Warren—but how can one drive away something that isn’t real?”

Mr. Tilson reddened, hastening to explain. “To calm her, so she need not fear for the safety of our future children.” What a lie that was! I knew from other sources that it was he who’d been afraid. Imagine refusing to marry a girl because of a ghost!

“Why should she fear?” I asked. “By what I’ve heard, she likes the ghost. It protects her from unwanted suitors.”

Mr. T glared. I must confess, I enjoyed witnessing his attempt to summon his manly intellect and produce an explanation that made him look fearless, noble, self-sacrificing, and so on.

“That only goes to show,” he said, “that sin is not the only taint in her family. There’s madness, too.” He paused dramatically and lowered his voice to a hush. “I saw her talking to the ghost.”

Heavens! “You saw the ghost?”

He huffed. “No, I saw her talking to thin air, which is a well-known trait of the insane. It gave me quite a turn. Thank God for that pleasant young man who was visiting Hearth House and kindly warned me away.”

Hmm…. I wonder now, who is the pleasant young man, and what was his reason for getting rid of Mr. Tilson? I can think of several possibilities. I believe I shall pay a visit to Hearth House and find out!

GhostAbout the Book

Faced with the intolerable suitors her father approves, Thomasina Warren resolves never to marry, and decides to lose her virginity so that no respectable man will have her. Who better to ruin her than handsome, charming James Blakely? But James is an honorable man and refuses point-blank. Humiliated, she resorts to outright refusal to wed, with the help of a ghost who scares her suitors away. But four years later, her father has arranged her marriage to a stodgy gentlemen whose only condition is that the ghost must be banished forever.

James Blakely never forgot the lovely girl who asked him to ruin her, and when he offers to get rid of the ghost, he thinks he’ll be doing a good deed. Instead, he is faced with the hostile Thomasina, her cowardly suitor, pigheaded father, lecherous cousin, an exorcist monk, and a ghost who warns of danger and deadly peril—and a few short days in which to convince Thomasina that with the right man, she might just want to marry after all.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07F71SZD6/

About the Author

Award-winning author Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

http://www.facebook.com/barbara.monajem
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https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/3270624.Barbara_Monajem
http://www.barbaramonajem.com/
http://barbaramonajem.blogspot.com

A Rose Thief meets a Bear

That Rosa Neatham. They say that she hurt her ankle. I ask you, is that likely? How did she come to hurt her ankle fifteen minutes walk or more from her home? And her with a sick father to look after?

I say sick, but we all know he is deranged. And no wonder, poor man, after what his wife and then his daughter put him through.

She just happened to hurt her ankle on the doorstep of the most eligible bachelor to come this way in a month of Sundays. Now their banns have been called, and you cannot tell me she didn’t plan it all.

Just wait until he finds out who her aunt is. That’s what I say. Or is the woman her aunt? Some say the scandalous trollop is her mother!

House of Thorns

His rose thief bride comes with a scandal that threatens to tear them apart.

Retired spy, Bear Gavenor has fled the marriage mart for the familiarity of his work; restoring abandoned country manors to sell to the newly rich. Never does he anticipate that his first task will be to deal with the thief he’s caught stealing his roses.

Evicted from her home and ruined with claims she has a lover, Rosa Neatham fears she will soon be unable to care for her invalid father. When she returns to her former home to gather roses to brighten his room, her fortune worsens. She’s startled by the home’s new owner and injured in a fall.

Bear takes her in, but when the rector confronts him about living with an unmarried woman, Bear decides to halt the rumormongers’ attempts to ruin her further and marries Rosa.

He needs an heir.

She needs a home.

Love needs to overcome the scandal, secrets and self-doubts that each brings to this marriage of convenience.

Buy links

Jude Knight’s book page  ♥ Amazon US  ♥ Amazon UK  ♥ Amazon Ca ♥ Amazon Au

Excerpt

The intruder stealing his roses had lovely shaped calves.

Bear Gavenor paused at the corner of the house, the better to enjoy the sight. The scraping of wood on stone had drawn him from the warmth of the kitchen, where the only fire in this overgrown cottage kept the unseasonable chill at bay. He had placed each foot carefully and silently, not from planned stealth, but from old habit. The woman perched precariously on the rickety ladder seemed oblivious to his presence.

Or—his sour experiences as a wealthy war hero in London suggested—she knew full well, and her display was for his benefit. Certainly, the sight was having an effect. Her skirt rose as she stretched, showing worn but neat walking boots. Her inadequate jacket molded to curves that dried his mouth. Wind plastered her skirts to lower curves that had him hardening in an instant, visions of plunder screaming into his mind.

It had been too long since his last willing widow.

Disgust at his own weakness as much as irritation at the invasion of his privacy, fueled Bear’s full-throated roar, “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing with my roses?”

She jerked around, then cried out as the rung she stood on snapped free of the upright. Bear lunged toward her as the ladder slid sideways. One upright caught on the tangle of rose branches and the other continued its descent. The woman threw out both hands but the branch she grasped snapped free and—before Bear could throw himself under her— she crashed onto the ground.

If the fall was deliberate—which would not surprise him after some of the things women had done to attract his attention—she had made too good a job of it. She lay still and white in a crumpled heap, her head lying on a corner of a flagstone in the path. He dropped to one knee beside her and slipped a hand into the rich chestnut hair. His fingers came away bloody.

As he ran his hands swiftly over the rest of her body, checking for anything that seemed twisted out of shape or that hurt enough to rouse her, a large drop of rain splashed onto his neck, followed by a spattering of more and then a deluge. He cursed as he lifted the woman and ran into the house through the garden doors that opened from the room he’d chosen for his study.

She was a bare handful, lighter than she should have been for her height, though well endowed in all the right places. He set her on the sofa and straightened. He needed a doctor.

The Servants Always Know

Loring Place, Suffolk, 27 May 1814. The upper servants have gathered in the housekeeper’s room. They are:

Mrs Walton, Housekeeper

Meadows, Butler

Dover, maid to the dowager Lady Loring

Hughes, maid to Lady Loring

Cotton, valet to Sir Edward Loring,

Fox, valet to Sir Edward’s heir, Sir Julian Loring.

Mrs Walton poured the tea and deftly plied sugar tongs and cream jug to prepare each cup exactly to the recipient’s liking. They had sat together so often that she no longer needed to ascertain their tastes. Miss Dover, the dowager’s maid was longest at the Place, almost forty years, while even Cotton had been with Sir Edward for more than five years now. She still missed the former valet, Mr Frost, who had died quietly in his sleep one autumn night.

She herself had completed her quarter century last year. Lady Loring had presented her with this handsome teapot to mark the occasion. It was a good place, she thought, as he distributed the cups. While my lady would not tolerate extravagance or waste, she was not one of those mistresses who grudged her servants every bite they ate and Mrs Walton knew how to walk the fine line between propriety and presumption.

Dover inhaled the fragrant steam before sipping the hot liquid. “I am sure I shall be glad to see my bed tonight. We have an early start tomorrow.”

Mrs Walton nodded understandingly. It had been an eventful day, with dinner put back until seven and a flurry of last-minute arrangements to be made for the dowager’s and Miss Chloe’s unexpected journey tomorrow.

“Have you everything packed?”

“All but for Miss Chloe’s pink gown. It will dry overnight and I’ll iron it at Lady Undrell’s—I’d have to press it again anyway.”

“It is unlike her ladyship to travel at such short notice.” Hughes remarked. “I hope all is well at the Undrells.”

“Your lady does not go with them?” Fox enquired

“She was in no state to consider it.” Hughes pursed her lips. “She and Sir Edward had words again.”

“That must be why he was so cranned,” Cotton said. “What was it this time?”

“Something to do with that Mr Chidlow who called earlier about Miss Fancourt, and I’m sure I can’t see how that could be my lady’s fault.”

“Sir Edward was furious that she had received him,” Meadows put in. “He stormed off to the little office as soon as he heard he was on the premises.”

Hughes nodded. “He rang her a fine peal afterwards. I had to give her a composer after he left her, poor lady.”

“I was that surprised to hear that you were having Miss Fancourt’s things packed up, Mrs Walton,” Dover said. “Is there any news of her? My lady would be anxious to know how she goes on, I’m sure.”

“I’m afraid not.” Mrs Walton answered.

“What sort of a man is this Mr Chidlow?

“I only saw him briefly but he seemed perfectly respectable.”

“Not gentry,” Meadows offered. “A man of business, I would say.

Cotton whistled softly. “Acting on behalf of her protector, I imagine. He must be a wealthy man.”

“Or besotted, “Fox said, “to send for her things like that, I mean. Most gentlemen wouldn’t care and a peculiar dresses different to a governess, after all.”

Mrs Walton sat up straight. “I don’t believe it—I never have. A nicer lady than Miss Fancourt you couldn’t meet. In the ten years she was Miss Chloe’s governess, her behaviour was always just so. Why should she suddenly throw her cap over the windmill like that?”

“Now that Miss Chloe has come out, she couldn’t remain here much longer,” Hughes pointed out. “Her ladyship had given her notice to the next quarter day.”

“It would have been wiser to serve her notice and receive her certificate of character,” Meadows said heavily. “Without one, she has no hope of securing respectable employment.”

“An old maid yielding to a sudden passion?” Cotton suggested. “What is she— thirty? She must have known this was her only chance. Why else would she pike off without a word to anyone, leaving all her things behind her? There’s no smoke without fire, that’s what I say. I heard that Mr Purdue saw her up before an officer, riding full pelt, they were—almost ran him down—and showing more of her legs than any decent female would.” He grinned. “Some sight that would be, with her being such a Long Meg—

“That will be enough of that, Mr Cotton,” Mrs Walton snapped. “In my Room, Miss Fancourt will be spoken of with respect until we have good reason — not just alehouse tittle-tattle—to believe she is no longer deserving of it. We are all dependent on our good names, are we not? And words, once spoken, cannot be taken back. It behoves us all to speak as charitably of others, as we would they spoke of us.”

Glossary

Cranned          sour, ill-tempered

Composer        a soothing or sedative draught

To ring a peal  to scold, usually used of a wife to her husband, but in this case the other way round.

Protector         a gentleman who has a mistress in keeping

To throw one’s cap over the windmill            to act in a crazed, reckless or unconventional manner.

To pike off      to run away

Full pelt           at full speed.

Long Meg       a very tall woman

A Suggestion of Scandal:

When governess Rosa Fancourt surprises two lovers in flagrante delicto, her life and future are suddenly at risk. Even if she escapes captivity, the mere suggestion of scandal is enough to ruin a lady in her situation. In Sir Julian Loring she finds an unexpected champion but will he stand by her to the end?

Extract

“The strange thing is that no one else saw the absconding couple,” Julian commented to his grandfather afterwards. “One would have thought it would have been generally remarked upon. There is no talk of an officer being absent without leave or having a new ladybird in keeping either.”

Lord Swanmere looked at him keenly. “Been making enquiries, have you?”

Julian shrugged. “Why should she get away with such a cowardly attack? For all she knows, she left my sister for dead.”

“Perhaps she did not want to be taken up for murder,” Swanmere said dryly. “But she will not go unpunished, my boy. She has only the clothes she stood up in and who knows what support, if any, she will get from her lover. Very likely he put her on the first stage to London. Hers will be a rapid descent into vice and depravity.”

Julian sighed. “I suppose you are right.”

But he could find no comfort in this dismal prophecy. Beneath his concern for Chloe, he strove to ignore another injury inflicted by Miss Fancourt; the betrayal not only of his family but also, on a deeply personal level, of himself. How could he have been so mistaken in her? And yet, at other times he could not accept her guilt.

A Suggestion of Scandal is available worldwide as eBook and paperback. Universal Amazon link: https://nrnk.co/a/B07DRLQZL8

About the author

Catherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin, Ireland. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector.

Catherine has a keen sense of history and of connection with the past which so often determines the present. She is fascinated by people and loves a good story, especially when characters come to life in a book. But then come the ‘whys’ and ‘what ifs’. She is particularly interested in what happens after the first happy end—how life goes on around the protagonists and sometimes catches up with them.

Catherine Kullmann’s novels are set in the early nineteenth century—one of the most significant periods of European and American history. The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland of 1800, the Anglo-American war of 1812 and more than a decade of war that ended in the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 are all events that continue to shape our modern world. At the same time, the aristocracy-led society that drove these events was under attack from those who demanded social and political reform, while the industrial revolution saw the beginning of the transfer of wealth and ultimately power to those who knew how to exploit the new technologies.

Catherine has always enjoyed writing; she loves the fall of words, the shaping of an expressive phrase, the satisfaction when a sentence conveys my meaning exactly. She enjoys plotting and revels in the challenge of evoking a historic era for characters who behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to a modern reader. But rewarding as all this craft is, she says, there is nothing to match the moment when a book takes flight, when your characters suddenly determine the route of their journey.

Catherine’s debut novel, The Murmur of Masks, received a Chill with a Book Readers Award and was short-listed for Best Novel in the 2017 CAP (Carousel Aware Prize) Awards. Perception & Illusion received a Chill with a Book Readers Award and a Discovered Diamonds Award. Her new novel, A Suggestion of Scandal, was published in August 2018.

You can Catherine’s website at www.catherinekullmann.com/ 

Her Facebook page is fb.me/catherinekullmannauthor

 

 

A  Guillotine Widow Takes Tea on the Isle of Guernsey

widowThere I was, sipping tea in the Donets’ lovely parlor, decorated in the warm colors of the gardens and filled with sunlight, trying to forget the horrors I had left behind in Paris. Sitting across from me was my savior, Mademoiselle Zoé Donet, and her English aunt, Joanna, comtesse de Saintonge. Zoé’s question stirred me from my reverie.

“Do you have in mind a place to settle in England, madame?”

“I have friends in London we can visit. After that, I’m not sure. I rather like the countryside. For many years, I lived in a small country palace in the Bois de Boulogne near Paris.”

“Then perhaps you should consider West Sussex,” offered Zoé’s aunt. “There is plenty of room at The Harrows, my family’s estate, and my brother, Richard, the Earl of Torrington, would welcome you and your children. It would be a fine place to recover from all you have been through at least until you decide. But, if you prefer, Richard could arrange for you and your children to travel with him the next time he goes to London.”

“That is so very kind of you, Madame Donet.”

“Not at all. It is settled. When my husband sails to England, you shall accompany him. Perhaps we’ll all go. I have not visited my brother in a while and he worries about me even though I am on Guernsey.”

I set down my teacup, trying to imagine the anxiety this woman must face each time her husband and niece ventured into the port towns in northwestern France to help the fleeing émigrésof which I had been one. “You must fear for your husband and niece going into France to rescue people like me. How ever do you stand the agony of awaiting their return?”

A subtle smile crossed Madame Donet’s face. It was the look of a woman who had long ago conquered her demons.

“I knew when I married Jean Donet I was marrying adventure itself. Oh, perhaps not the terrifying kind he now faces, defying the revolution’s madmen. For that, I think he and my niece are quite brave. But I have always known such a man would not be content to sit in his parlor and gaze at his vineyard, though he has—or rather, had—an excellent one. No, once he discovered the sea, there was no other life for him.”

I considered the niece. At twenty, Zoé was a beautiful young woman attired in an elegant gown, so different from the soot-covered peasant she had been days ago. “I can see why Monsieur Donet would undertake the rescues, but why you?”

“I made a vow to a friend that I would do all I could for the royalist cause, no matter the peril I must face.”

Zoé’s aunt smiled. “Anyone who marries my niece will be making the same decision I made when I wed Jean Donet.”

About the Book

WidowA Fierce Wind: Donet Trilogy, book 3
Love in the time of revolution
France 1794

Zoé Ariane Donet was in love with love until she met the commander of the royalist army fighting the revolutionaries tearing apart France. When the dashing young general is killed, she joins the royalist cause, rescuing émigrésfleeing France.

One man watches over her: Frederick West, the brother of an English earl, who has known Zoé since she was a precocious ten-year-old child. At sixteen, she promised great beauty, the flower of French womanhood about to bloom. Now, four years later, as Robespierre’s Terror seizes France by the throat, Zoé has become a beautiful temptress Freddie vows to protect with his life.

But English spies don’t live long in revolutionary France.

Buy links for A Fierce Wind:
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYPFVRL
UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYPFVRL
Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07FYPFVRL</a

Amazon link for the award-winning Donet Trilogy: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B071JPXTT5/

About the Author

I didn’t start out as a writer of historical novels. Although I wrote stories as a child, by the time I got to college, and at the urging of my professors, I became a lawyer. After years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government, it seemed time for a change. Becoming an award-winning author was the subject of dreams when I first began writing, but dreams sometimes do come true.

 

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