Have you heard the news? Word from Aldonia is that our illustrious Crown Prince is finally in the market for a princess.
With the prince’s two younger siblings married off, it was only a matter of time that Prince Christopher found a bride.
My sources in the palace, however, tell me that the search may have hit a bit of a snag.
Not because of anything our dear prince has done, of course. Nay, it seems that the arrival of a certain English miss has caught a few eyes.
Though the lady’s connections are undeniably good, we’re not all that convinced that she is fit to be a queen.
Have no fear, dear readers. As you well know, Prince Christopher has never acted in a way that is anything less than perfect. And he has only ever put crown and country before all else.
But we must wonder; why do our sources tell us that he’s been acting somewhat out of character around the gel?
And word has it that the mysterious Lady L’s cousin was very much in line to take the crown. Will there be familial discord? And will our dear prince shock us all with an unexpected announcement soon?
We doubt that he’d do anything to shock us. But then, considering his brother ran off to England, and his sister married the help, one can never tell.
We shall keep our eyes and ears very much open, and report back when we have even a sniff of scandal about our fearless leader.
The Teatime Tattler’s Aldonia Correspondent
About the Book
Heavy is the heart that wears the crown…
Prince Christopher Wesselbach learned from a young age that crown and country come before everything else.
Now, as Crown Prince and future king, he knows that duty to the throne requires him to marry.
But he also knows from bitter experience that women are fickle and not to be trusted. So, he’ll choose a wife based on what Aldonia needs in a queen and nothing else. He won’t allow a woman to change the life he chooses to live, and he won’t be foolish enough to let his heart get involved in the decision.
Lady Lucia Allenwood does not fit in with royalty. If stealing from the queen wasn’t proof enough of that, then engaging in illicit meetings with a handsome stranger certainly was.
But her cousin seems to have caught the interest of the elusive Prince Christopher and so Lucy must do her best to stay out of trouble, and not disgrace the family name.
Despite their best intentions, Lucy and Christopher can’t seem to stay out of each other’s ways, and when they clash, sparks inevitably fly.
But can Christopher learn to trust? Not just a lady, but his own heart?
In my capacity as occasional contributor to the Teatime Tattler, I was most fortunate to arrange an interview with Corvus, the caricaturist who took London society by storm over a year ago.
No one knows Corvus’s real name or even what he looks like. For the interview, he was completely screened from my sight. All I could discern, judging by his voice and accent, is that he is an Englishman, likely of the merchant class—educated, but lacking what is known as ton. I am relieved to know that he is not a gentleman of birth, for no such man would stoop to publishing vulgar caricatures, making game of the highest and best of English society—including Lady Rosamund Phipps, one of the stars in the firmament of the beau monde.
As if that were not dreadful enough, some of his caricatures indicate that he has a tendre for Lady Rosamund! When I taxed him with his impudence at coveting a lady so far above him, he gave a chuckle that sent a shiver down my spine. “I wouldn’t let just anyone birch me.”
Horrors! How crass of him to refer to that ghastly drawing in which poor Lady Rosamund is doing just that. Can you conceive of anything more insulting—to expose his bare bottom to the world and suggest that Lady Rosamund would enjoy punishing him in such a way?
Although, I must say, I have it on the best of authority that Lady Rosamund did indeed say that Corvus deserved a birching. I believe we all agree with that, but never that she wished to inflict the punishment in person. Naturally, she would send a burly footman to accomplish such a disagreeable task.
“Why,” I asked him, “do you put your artistic talent to such a base use?” The reason was obvious—filthy lucre.
He laughed again. “Money, of course. That’s what you expected me to say, isn’t it? And it’s true, the caricatures are a valuable means of support for me. But that’s not all.”
“Admiration?” I wished he could see my brows raised in haughty inquiry.
“It is always a pleasure when one’s art is appreciated by others,” he said. “I’m sure you write gossip for the same reason. Deplorable as gossip is, the way you phrase it is a form of art.”
I admit, I didn’t know whether to be offended or complimented. So much for haughtiness.
I sensed his grin at my expense. “I draw to amuse the populace,” he said after a pause. “To show for their delectation the folly, venality, and indifference of the upper classes. Not that they don’t already suffer from this every day of their lives, but to have it displayed for the lower classes to see and laugh at whilst at the same time it embarrasses their so-called betters… Maybe that’s why I do it.”
There ended the interview, gentle readers. I leave it to you to decide what you think of Corvus, and whether you will continue to enjoy—or deplore—his caricatures. However, I believe we all are agreed in wondering who he is, who will unmask him…and what punishment Lady Rosamund will devise for him when that day comes.
About the Book
Lady Rosamund Phipps, daughter of an earl, has a secret. Well, more than one. Such as the fact that she’s so uninterested in sex that she married a man who promised to leave her alone and stick to his mistress. And a secret only her family knows—the mortifying compulsion to check things over and over. Society condemns people like her to asylums. But when she discovers the dead body of a footman on the stairs, everything she’s tried to hide for years may be spilled out in broad daylight.
First the anonymous caricaturist, Corvus, implicates Lady Rosamund in a series of scandalous prints. Worse, though, are the poison pen letters that indicate someone knows the shameful secret of her compulsions. She cannot do detective work on her own without seeming odder than she already is, but she has no choice if she is to unmask both Corvus and the poison pen.
Will Corvus prove to be an ally or an enemy? With the anonymous poison pen still out there, her sanity—and her life—are at stake.
Rumor has it that Barbara Monajem is descended from English aristocrats. If one keeps to verifiable claims, however, her ancestors include London shopkeepers and hardy Canadian pioneers. As far as personal attributes go, she suffers from an annoying tendency to check and recheck anything and everything, usually for no good reason. Hopefully all this helps to explain her decision to write from the point of view of a compulsive English lady with a lot to learn about how the other ninety-nine percent lived in 1811 or so.
As for qualifications, Barbara is the author of over twenty historical romances and a few mysteries, for which she has won several awards. On the other hand, she has no artistic talent and therefore is really stretching it to write about an artist who draws wickedly good caricatures. But she’s doing it anyway, because he’s irresistible. To her, anyway. Not so much to the aristocratic lady. Or at least not yet.
The Teatime Tattler, October 21, 1815 Dearest Readers:
In my unrelenting desire to keep you all informed of the news in Town, this writer would be remiss if I failed to report on the latest breeze shaking the Ton.
As we all know, the Kerrington family has provided this column with never-ending tales of scandal and strange doings in the past. We all know of the notorious life and embarrassing death of the late Earl of Dayton. I recently reported about the eccentric behavior of the elderly Countess,who deliberately mashed Sir Broderick’s foot with her cane at the Duchess of Brundsbury’s Soiree. He limped for a wee
There was hope that in returning from his brave service at Waterloo, Colonel Kerrington would take up the mantle of Earl and bring a much- needed discipline and normalcy to the family. That hope may have been in vain.
It seems just this last week, a strange Italian woman unexpectedly has taken up residence at the Kerrington estate, a Contessa Cassandra Sinatore. Appearing out of nowhere, she is said to be the companion to Lady Kerrington and under the protection of the new Earl of Drayton. Tall and dark, her presence has set tongues to dancing. Yet, that was only the beginning.
Not four days in residence, this mystery woman climbed forty feet straight up a manor wall to save a small child from falling off the tin roof, astounding the family and servants who witnessed it.
The Countess exclaimed she scaled the wall like a ‘cursed spider.’ While accounts of this miraculous, heroic feat have been circulating Town, rumor has it that she wasn’t wearing a dress when she saved the child. The term roof dancer has also been whispered about.
Happily, we will all have an opportunity to see this enigmatic acrobat and ask our questions of the Kerrington family, for they are all coming to Town. The Duke of Devonshire is hosting a ball and because of her derring- do, the Contessa Sinatore is the guest of honor. Will the Kerringtons and their mysterious guest supply more scandals or has their reputation taken a turn for the better? Whatever the answer, you all read it first here at The Teatime Tattler!
About the Book
A Cat Burglar is Thrust Back in Time
Art Thief Cassie Sinatore: Shackled and dressed in a neon orange jumpsuit, she awaits extradition at Heathrow Airport. An accident with a nearby experimental radar plane throws Cassie back in time, dumping her in a wooded countryside. The rider who discovers her is charismatic, more compelling than any man she has ever met. She chalks up the man’s Regency outfit and odd behavior to the eccentricity of the rich. Or maybe he is just a nutbar, but the man is offering a ride.
Lord Ross Kerrington: The new Earl of Drayton, having returned from the wars in 1815, finds the Kerrington family in turmoil, lunatic women who make him consider returning to the army. The alluring woman he discovers in the estate’s Greyfield Woods strikes him as equally mad. The woman wears bizarre attire, acting with a peculiar cheekiness that borders on insolence. Considering the very real dangers a madwoman faces encountering the surrounding inhabitants, he decides to bring her home to safety until he can decide what to do with her. Unexpectedly, his family has other ideas.
Meeting the Kerrington family, Cassie finally realizes she is trapped 200 years in the past. Faced with the frightening situation, she resolves to win her independence using her cat-burglar skills. Then things get complicated.
Against her will, she finds herself caring about the Kerrington family, fighting a powerful attraction to the very proper Ross. Dependent on the Kerringtons’ good will, Cassie finds it increasingly difficult to navigate London society, the family, and even more, her growing passion for Ross.
Besides, someone is trying to kill him.
Stealing Time will be available on Amazon Kindle July 15th.
bwhaggart.com will premier at the same time offering more information, blogs and book reviews.
A most scandalous display of courtship occurred yesterday on the stoop of Lady R’s townhome. The dashing Lord B swept the innocent debutante Lady D into his embrace for a scorching kiss. The neighbor’s windows steamed over from the passionate heat. It was said that the lady did not protest the affectionate gesture, but wrapped her arms around the gentleman pulling him closer. The kiss was soon broken-up by the reformed rakes The Duke of S and Lord W.
As Lord B was dragged away by Lord W, he drunkenly declared his apologies. While The Duke of S offered an explanation for his friend’s actions to Lady D. (Who I might add had also courted the lady himself before he wed the lovely Lady S.) A smile of pleasure graced the lady’s face before she closed the door.
But wait, there is more to this story readers. My sources tell me that earlier in the day while at his club, Lord B laid Lord P to the floor with a planter. He threatened him with more punches if he ever approached Lady D and his sister again. It leaves me wondering who the Earl tried protecting more, his sister or the red-haired beauty, Lady D.
Well readers, does the impoverished Earl mean to ruin Lady D for financial gain? Or is he smitten with her charms? While most ladies would have slapped a gentleman stepping over the bounds of propriety, Lady D did not. Which leads me to believe that she welcomes this scandalous courtship. I for one, will enjoy watching this scandal unfold.
About the Book: I Shall Love the Earl (Tricking the Scoundrels #3)
How many times must a gentleman ruin a lady before he offers for her hand….
She waited for the temptation held in his gaze. He refused to give into his desire to court her. Can a ruination of a lady lead toward a love to last a lifetime?
Every ball Dallis MacPherson attended, she saved a spot on her dance card for a certain gentleman. Many balls later and still no offer, prompts her to pursue the earl. When she encounters him on a darkened balcony, he steals a kiss and warns her away. His stolen kiss promises a passion she wants to explore. At every occasion he attends, she tempts him with her own promise. Soon the earl falls for her charms and sends her down a path of ruination with one incident after another. Can Dallis overcome the scandal of the earl’s pursuit?
Roderick Beckwith watched the Scottish beauty from afar. He lost his heart the moment he set eyes upon her. Throughout the season every gentleman offered her a dance, but him. With his financial affairs on the brink of disaster, he couldn’t provide her with the life she deserved. When his mother introduces his sworn enemy to his heart’s desire, he must set aside his pride. However, his courtship is less than ideal. At every opportunity he brings scandal to her name. Can Rory redeem himself and prove to Dallis that he is a gentleman worth loving?
With every glance, Dallis pulls Rory in deeper. His stolen kisses forces him to make her an offer of marriage. As they prepare for their wedding, he acts as the perfect gentleman. However, the proper gentleman was not who Dallis desired. Will her scoundrel show himself before they say I do?
I Shall Love the Earl is the third book in Laura A. Barnes’s romantic historical romance series. If you love a novel filled with a scandalous courtship set in Regency England, then you will enjoy Rory enticing Dallis with promises of love.
Devour I Shall Love the Earl, the third novel in Laura’s Tricking the Scoundrel series today.
Dallis heard the pounding on the door and realized that for some reason Shaw wasn’t going to answer the caller. Even though it was highly improper, Dallis opened the door herself. She stood in surprise at who stood on her doorstep. Lord Roderick Beckwith swayed back and forth, trying to fight for his balance. His eyes glazed over as his lips pulled into a lopsided smile.
“Yous is sooooo betiful.”
He was drunk. The ever-proper, keeping his temper in a tight control, protective Rory Beckwith, was blazing drunk. He reached out to wrap his finger around a stray curl.
“Soooo soft. Knew wods be.”
Rory’s touch stilled Dallis from helping him stand. The gentle caress caught her unaware. His thumb brushed across the loose strand. Rory continued to sway and soon lost his balance. He fell into the doorjamb, where he decided to lean. When Dallis didn’t respond to Rory, he took his touch one step further and brushed his thumb across her lips. The jolt propelled Dallis closer to him, her mouth opening at his touch.
“Soft engf to kiss.”
Dallis didn’t know how to react. Rory was finally near and touching her. Her body took over, responding to his need. Her tongue slowly slid out to lick his thumb. At her reaction, he groaned and pulled her into his arms.
“See, I tolds you I’s dangerous.”
Rory’s lips devoured hers passionately, exploding her senses. His mouth pulling kiss after kiss from her soul, while his hands dived into her hair causing her hair pins to scatter across the foyer. As he sensed her desire, the kiss turned more urgent. Everything she ever read about was coming true at this moment. Still, Dallis held back from responding due to her naivety. Until he groaned and tightened his embrace, giving her the encouragement to return his kiss and match him stroke for stroke.
“We thought this might be your next destination. C’mon mate, before the neighbors catch sight of your stupidity. I told you, Sheffield, that he would go to her.”
Sheffield and Wildeburg pulled Rory away from Dallis. Her face flamed with embarrassment to be caught so intimately in Rory’s embrace. Dallis held her cheeks as Wildeburg led him away.
“Sorrysss Dallis,” Rory called out.
“For the kiss?” she whispered.
Sheffield answered for him. “No, my dear, for another matter. I am working to quell that problem. But you should be aware that he defended your honor at the club today with Lord Phipps.”
“By a bloody punch to the nose.”
“Oh. More to add to my embarrassment.”
“I am afraid so. Do you remember our conversation in the park?”
“If it is any comfort, you are not the only one suffering from love.”
“Then why does he ignore me?”
“Pride, my dear Dallis. A man’s greatest downfall in life.”
“My sentiments exactly.”
“Thank you, Sheffield.”
“Anything for a friend. Will we see you at the Sambourne Ball?”
“Yes, I am very excited. Lady Beckwith offered to introduce me to Lord Holdenburg.”
“So I have heard. Another reason for our acquaintance’s inebriation.”
Dallis smiled. Rory’s display of drunken affection proved he was jealous. Was he jealous enough to stop the courtship her grandmother proposed? If not, his actions this afternoon secured that he must court her or ruin her reputation. They could have explained away the punch, but the kiss held the most damage. Dallis knew her grandmother’s neighbors watched them. There wasn’t an activity in the neighborhood they didn’t observe.
“Give Sophia my love.”
“Will do. Please save me a dance this evening. We might as well make the bloke so bloody jealous that he will become a pup at your feet, begging for a treat.”
Dallis closed the door as Sheffield entered his carriage. She leaned against the paneling, her smile growing wider, realizing she had Rory right where she wanted him. Her smile turned to astonishment as she remembered the taste of him on her lips. She pressed her fingers to her mouth. Would he recall their kiss after his drunkenness wore off? If not, she would be sure to refresh his memory.
International selling author Laura A. Barnes fell in love with writing in the second grade. After her first creative writing assignment, she knew what she wanted to become. Many years went by with Laura filling her head full of story ideas and some funny fish songs she wrote while fishing with her family. Thirty-seven years later, she made her dreams a reality. With her debut novel Rescued By the Captain, she has set out on the path she always dreamed about.
When not writing, Laura can be found devouring her favorite romance books. Laura is married to her own Prince Charming (who for some reason or another thinks the heroes in her books are about him) and they have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides her love of reading and writing, Laura loves to travel. With her passport stamped in England, Scotland, and Ireland; she hopes to add more countries to her list soon.
While Laura isn’t very good on the social media front, she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on the following platforms:
A plea from Matthew Blakely, brother to Charlotte Blakely:
Do you know how it feels to be a third wheel? Well I do, quite thoroughly. I’ve been sent to Rome by my older brother, the new viscount, for one reason only: to keep an eye on Charlotte and act as her damned chaperone. I am not a companion, especially since she’s got this ridiculous idea in her head to go haring off in the hopes of finding the Veil of Veronica.
Yes, my sister’s got it into her head that she’s a bona fide treasure hunter instead of staying in London like a proper ton lady should. Even worse, she’s brought along a man who’s sweet on her but hasn’t committed. Truly, their displays of affection are sickening, and it’s quite scandalous. To say nothing of the mysterious visitors to the ambassador’s residence… Makes me uncomfortable.
About as uncomfortable as when she forces me to sneak into dusty passageways beneath churches and into tombs. And do you know how difficult it is to translate Latin? I’m afraid I wasn’t one to pay attention to that at school, and she thinks I have hero potential. Me. I’m not sure about that.
However, the whole idea of what she’s trying to accomplish is quite amazing. As time goes on and we move deeper into the puzzle, I’m gobsmacked. And I’m coming to understand my sister better. I had no idea how fearless she is, or how determined, and quite frankly, if the ambassador doesn’t come up to scratch and offer for her, I might need to force him into it… purely to halt the gossip’s tongues and the scandal that will follow.
Oh, and by the way, if you see me about Rome, send help, and not the Carabinieri. They’re quite certain my sister is wanted for murdering a monk…
About Ladies Prefer Adventure
Fulfilling a lifetime mission is much more fun when romance is woven into the adventure.
Mr. Everett Desmond spends far too much time behind a desk and entertaining dignitaries. He thought that was what he wanted from life… until an intriguing lady gave him a taste of adventure. But treasure-hunting comes at a price and, thanks to a failed engagement, he’s leery of romance.
The Honorable Charlotte Blakely is closing in on the actual location of the Veil of Veronica, carrying on her beloved late grandfather’s quest. Satisfying his last wish is all she’s ever wanted from life… until the possibility of a courtship with the handsome English ambassador to Rome made itself known. But does love mean giving up her hard-won independence?
Balancing each leg of the quest with the heat and passion simmering between them keeps Charlotte and Everett on the razor’s edge. When danger and death collide with the joy of adventure, truths they’ve denied themselves come into sharp focus. But with a bit of faith, they may discover a treasure far more priceless than a religious relic in their hands.
Across the table, Matthew sipped his tea while watching passersby.
“I agree, and it came about so suddenly. After attending finishing school with her and keeping in touch, I never thought Callie would ever wed. She’d seemed content with her office job, and she is rather… unique.”
“Any woman worth her salt is,” he murmured softly.
Her cheeks heated again. She scanned the rest of the page. “Oh, bother.”
“Trouble?” Beneath the table, Everett laid a hand on her knee and slowly slid it upward, leaving tingles in his wake.
Concentration became difficult as she remembered the night she’d spent in his arms, but she prevailed. “You are mentioned here.”
“How so?” A frown marred the handsome perfection of his face.
“’Ambassador Desmond has once more left London for Rome. Rumor says he is accompanied by the late Viscount Hadleigh’s daughter, who studies in the same city. Is there a romance in the making?’”
A red flush crept over his collar. “I did not authorize that.”
He seemed so discomfited that Charlotte laughed, which brought Matthew’s attention back to her. “No one ever does in the gossip pages.” But she wondered too if there was a romance between them. It had been an age since they’d been able to talk about a future together. She continued to read and finished with a groan. “’We fear the ambassador wastes his time on an insane quest of Miss Blakely’s making, but perhaps he’ll come to his senses soon.’” She tossed the paper across the table at her brother. “Bah. What do they know?”
No one had ever believed in her apart from Everett, so why should the writer of the society piece be any different?
“You ought to listen to them, Char,” Matthew said as he took yet another sandwich. “It is rather ridiculous to traipse about the world. Not natural at all.”
She blew out a breath. “Not the world, brother, just Rome.”
Matthew snorted. “Be that as it may, this business with the ambassador needs settled and soon. It’s this side of scandalous.”
As if the scandalous sort of things men indulged in was merely men being men. Well, she’d never liked those unspoken rules, and she’d lived her life accordingly, for she’d been rather shocking herself while in Rome. No one needed to know, and it had helped grow her independence and sense of worth more than wasting time in England’s drawing rooms.
“Then it suits me fine, don’t you think?”
The men of the world and the catty gossips that made up the backbone of the ton didn’t have the right to deem her behavior overly scandalous or sexual. Only she had that power. She lived her life as she saw fit, and until men began seeing women as equals instead of objects, she’d keep doing as she pleased. Respect was earned, not blindly given due to status or whether one had certain pieces of anatomy between his thighs.
He glanced at Everett. “You truly mean to go haring after a rag with her?”
“I do.” The ambassador squeezed his hand on her knee.
Charlotte squirmed from the delicious sensations that lodged between her thighs. “It’s not a rag, Matthew. It’s a relic.”
“Semantics.” Her brother shrugged. “I cannot believe you would let your woman lead you in a chase like that, Ambassador. Fine kettle you’ll find yourself in should the two of you marry.”
“I should think so.” Everett’s chuckle danced over her skin and heightened her awareness of him. “And, I don’t let her do anything. I encourage her and follow. Quite frankly, I cannot wait to start.” He looked at her with a certain heat in his eyes. “On many things.”
“Oh.” A blush warmed her cheeks. That was the man she remembered. How she wished to kiss him, but Matthew’s presence put a damper upon that. Instead, she addressed her brother. Time to deliver a proper dressing down and put herself back in control. “First of all, I might be with the ambassador, but he doesn’t own me. I am neither a head of cattle nor am I a bookshelf to be moved about or tossed aside. Secondly, the world is growing. Women are contributing amazing things just as the men are. In fact, one of my friends is a doctor, and she fought for that honor. She plans on traveling to Africa of all places. We’ve all fought for what we want. Third, I know my own mind and will do as I please. Your approval is not needed.”
Matthew’s lower jaw gaped open before he remembered himself. “You will do this with Mr. Desmond regardless of his plans?”
“If he chooses to support me.” She smiled at Everett and ran the risk of tumbling headlong into the deep dark pools of his eyes. “In all honesty, he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t believe in me or my quest. His plans will, of course, be taken into consideration.” Then her smile faltered. Had their romance stalled before it had had a chance to proof? Was it more than never having a moment alone? Did he value his position as ambassador more?
“Indeed.” Everett’s fingers danced along her thigh in erotic reassurance. “I’ll remain here until you have no more need of me.” He dared to edge his fingers to the vee of her thighs, but the copious layers of her skirts dulled the caress even as the heat of it rolled over her.
For the moment, she savored the shivers going down her spine. “I look forward to the adventure, wherever it takes us.”
About the Author
Sandra Sookoo is a USA Today bestselling author who firmly believes every person deserves acceptance and a happy ending. Most days you can find her creating scandal and mischief in the Regency-era, serendipity and happenstance in Victorian America or snarky, sweet humor in the contemporary world. Most recently she’s moved into infusing her books with mystery and intrigue. Reading is a lot like eating fine chocolates—you can’t just have one. Good thing books don’t have calories!
When she’s not wearing out computer keyboards, Sandra spends time with her real-life Prince Charming in central Indiana where she’s been known to goof off and make moments count because the key to life is laughter. A Disney fan since the age of ten, when her soul gets bogged down and her imagination flags, a trip to Walt Disney World is in order. Nothing fuels her dreams more than the land of eternal happy endings, hope and love stories.