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?
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.
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
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.
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!
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
“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
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?
Not moving his
gaze from her face, he lifted the dandelion and traced it along the curve of
And then her
“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.
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?”
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.
innocence delighted him.
“In the air?”
“No.” Her eyes
narrowed slightly. “You.”
“The Perfect Spinster has
left me desperate to read more from Annabelle Anders.”––Bibliophile
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?
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
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
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’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?
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
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
“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
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
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
correspondent could not but agree.
“The night in question—”
your correspondent began, hopeful that Mr. Cuffy would return to ghosts and
“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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.
“And then?” I asked,
“Then there was a shout
from below and she disappeared into the fog again.”
“Where you drunk?” I
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.
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?”
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.
I write to you today to share my
outrage at occurrences in Dudley Crescent. I simply cannot abide the recent
changes and must have your advice.
Two years ago, a murder occurred at
Number 10. The horrid matter was quickly resolved when the culprit was
identified and put away from fine society.
But the greater scandal was that the widowed lady of the house had
intimate relations with her butler! Then last year, a noted member of society
hired a young woman as ward to his child…and later, did marry the woman! She
was far below his station, though, I do understand, an heiress of considerable
worth. I must tell you the man is one of our finest gentlemen with a spotless
reputation and high military honors. Yet, I worry.
Another event occurring last week causes
me to question my presence here!
I understand that one noble gentleman
has paid attentions to one of his servants! This time, said woman is not a
governess. No, indeed, she is his maid-of-all-work! Can you imagine? I’ve been
inconsolable, riddled with a nervous stomach and headaches. My usual little
dose of laudanum is simply not enough to calm me.
This causes me to ask you if you think
I should move to a better part of town. Is there a curse on the Crescent? Must
I expect more servants who will climb above their station to enthrall their
masters or mistresses? Worse, will such an affliction affect my own house? I
must tell you, quite confidentially, that my only daughter, Lady Mary, seems
far too taken with one of our own servants. The new…dear me, I can barely write
this…stable boy. Yes! He is most definitely not
a boy. Not by any means. He is thirty years of age or more. Tall, taller than
my dear departed husband. And devilishly handsome with hair the color of coal
and eyes like lavender. He is quite ethereal.
I do rattle on!
Advise me, please!
Catherine, the Viscountess of Trelawny
Dudley Crescent is a verdant parcel of land in London, granted by King Charles II to the Earl of Dudley who was one of his staunchest supporters. With gold he’d stolen as a highwayman during Charles’s exile on the Continent, Dudley put his ill-gotten gains to good use and built the finest town homes in the capital. Renting the land in perpetuity to certain Royalist friends quadrupled his fortune.
Today, those who have townhomes surrounding the verdant park are a few of the wealthiest and most influential lords and ladies in the kingdom. But scandals abound on Dudley Crescent. You can find them here: