Home of the Bluestocking Belles

Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Tag: regency spy

Reunited at last, but can it last?

Can it be TRUE? Has the Viscount Deverall reunited with his long estranged wife? Lady Genevieve is well-known throughout the city for her selfless good work and perfect demeanor (if not for her fashion choices). The tall and graceful viscountess is an inspiration to young women, who are so flighty today, with their insistence on love-matches and their continued passion for French fabrics and styles (despite the fact that we are at WAR with France!). The charity which she operates, the Society for the Improvement of Friendless Children, has announced a large project which will house orphans who currently dwell in the city’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, beset with crime and sin! 

            Lord Cameron, Viscount Deverall, is well-known for very different reasons, not least of which is his devastatingly handsome appearance and keen sense of style (even Brumell has offered praise!). However, his most famous exploits are too shocking for this news column to put into words. In order to spare the delicate constitutions of ladies who may be reading, I will not even hint of them. 

            For those unaware of the rumors (though they are more than rumors! No fewer than thirty members of the ton have confirmed what they saw that night!), Deverall embarrassed the new viscountess soon after their wedding in a most scandalous way (a mere three weeks into their marriage! And who WAS the unknown woman also seen that night?). Following the public transgression of a lord who should know better, the couple has not been seen together for nearly three years, and Deverall lives exclusively in his rented rooms near St. James Street. But perhaps things have changed!

            Last week, the viscount moved back into the townhouse where his viscountess has been keeping residence and maintaining the honor of her family’s name during the many years her husband has avoided all the duties of his role and title to instead dally with gamblers and the wort sort of characters. What lord puts pleasure above duty to such degree? To date, there is no heir (nor spare) to Deverall’s title! 

            What mysterious event could have occurred to cause Lady Genevieve to allow Lord Deverall back into their home? What silver lies did the admittedly charming lord spin to convince his wife to tolerate his presence? 

            If this couple can reconcile, all things may be possible. Perhaps the authorities can even capture the Black Mask, the criminal mastermind who has stolen thousands of pounds of jewelry from all over the city (not to mention a few ladies’ hearts!) And to think, I once feared the end of the Season would mean London would grow sleepy and dull!

            Even in the countryside, the potential for news beckons. It has been reported that the family of Lucien Bonaparte has purchased a grand estate in Worcestershire, where they will take up residence (still well guarded by the British army, for the estate and the nearby town represent the limit of the Bonaparte’s parole.).

            Any one of these situations may blossom into a real story. Indeed, this summer may be a season of revelations! Dear readers, I will deliver any scrap of knowledge that comes my way. 

Yours faithfully, 

Verity Truetale

Book Excerpt:

(From A Most Relentless Gentleman)

            The Season was nearly over. Summer was about to begin her reign over the city, though the warm air had not yet brought out the terrible stench of the Thames that would emerge in a few weeks. Now it was actually pleasant, the air soft and the evening light of the sky filtering through newly leafy trees. 
            As he got closer to his destination, Cameron opened the letter again. Three years of nothing, and now this. In the solitude of the carriage, he allowed himself to speculate. Was it possible Genevieve was as sick of this separation as he was? Or was her family applying some pressure to live up to expectations?
            The carriage clattered to a halt in front of a familiar house. A golden glow seeped from all the lower windows. As he strode up the walk, he heard the faint sounds of laughter and talk. Gen was entertaining. He was vaguely annoyed at the idea of her happily toasting guests after she penned a letter implying that the sky was falling.
            He knocked once, also annoyed by that. A man shouldn’t have to knock on his own front door.
            The door opened. The mouth of the maid also opened as she stared at him in shock.
            Cameron stepped inside. “Where is my wife?”
            “In the dining room…my lord,” the maid squeaked out. “Shall I…shall I announce you?”
            “Who else is in the dining room?”
            “The whole board of the Society for the Improvement of Friendless Children, my lord. And their spouses.”
            Cameron curled his lip in disdain. “Just tell her I’m waiting in her study.”
            The maid nodded, finally regaining her composure. “Yes, my lord.”
            Cameron showed himself into the study. He looked at the expansive walnut desk, the surface covered with documents and ledgers. On the wall hung several framed charcoal drawings of no artistic merit. Children could have done better, he thought, before realizing that children probably were the artists and these were gifts to their greatest patron. 
            He leaned toward one, a crude rendering of Genevieve herself. Despite the rough medium and the scant talent of the creator, something of Genevieve was in that drawing. The remarkable height, the dark hair, the direct gaze of the avenging angel.
            “What are you doing here?”
            At the sound of the voice, Cameron turned to the door, where the real Genevieve stood. The drawing faded into nothing. There she was. Tall, slender, with the dark hair curled and pinned atop her head with only a silk ribbon as an adornment—she needed no other. He took in the rest of her in a glance, and then had to do more than glance, because her gown demanded it. The neckline dipped enticingly low, treating him to an expanse of soft skin that no one but him should ever see. 
            And yet. Here she was, evidently thinking she looked perfectly acceptable to appear before the gaze of the entire board of the Society for the Improvement of Friendless Breasts.
            “I asked you a question, my lord.” Genevieve crossed her arms. He saw her left hand as she wrapped it around her elbow. No ring. He added another item to the list of things that were annoying him, along with the fact that his breeches were suddenly a little too tight.
            Cameron had to say something. 
            “Genevieve.”
            He probably should have said something wittier than that. 
            She narrowed her eyes. “Why. Are. You. Here?”

Social Links: 

Website: https://elizabethcole.co

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColeHeartedGirl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1862500837299608/

Buy links: 

https://www.elizabethcole.co/a-most-relentless-gentleman

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-most-relentless-gentleman/id1439013935?mt=11

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-most-relentless-gentleman

A Most Disobliging Son!

writer11024Dearest Sally,                                                                                      Copthorne, Kent

                                                                                                            June 15, 1814

I write to you because I feel that only you can truly enter into my feelings at this time. None but you know how disappointed I was when Tarquin so disobligingly refused to make an offer to Susanna, ruining all the hopes we had of bringing our children and families together in a most appropriate match! I feel so strongly that close family ties must and will always be a far more reliable basis for a marriage than romantical notions.

Alas, it was not to be. That scheming Mrs. Carlton has wrested my dearest Tarquin from me with her ingratiating ways, which seem to have fooled so many. But they have not deceived his mama! I know her for the scheming fortune hunter she is. Imagine Copthorne, with its hundreds of years of history having a mistress who has actually earned a living. And that after spending several years following the drum in the Peninsula! Spending one’s time in grubby camps, traveling around the countryside and cooking for her husband and his fellow officers instead of staying by hearth and home, to write letters and make sure that her hands and face were still white and soft for him when he came home!

But I think the worst of it is surely that she disappeared mysteriously for a fortnight, and no one seems to know exactly what she was about, or who she was with. So indelicate and damaging to a lady’s reputation, that I simply cannot countenance it! Her friend Damaris Honeysett would not breathe a word of the details to me, no matter how delicately I inquired. I must tell you dearest, that even though she is the daughter of a Viscount, her husband is not of the highest ton, so I am not entirely surprised. So, I am left to wonder why Tarquin returned from a sudden extended and unexplained visit to Town only to announce that he would marry in just a few days!

Really it is utterly exasperating! I console myself that although it is quite clear why her father Lord Upleadon cast her off, he at least is of the very best breeding. Some may say that he is rather high in the instep, but I think his opinion of his own superiority is quite justified by his birth, background, and of course the ancient nature of his title, and a very sizable fortune.

So now it seems I am to move to the Dower House. It is a matter of a mile or so away from Copthorne, and perfectly pleasant, but not of the size and importance that I am accustomed to. In addition, it will need entirely new hangings, wallpapers, and any number of other things – perhaps even an entire new wing!! I will certainly point out to dearest Tarquin that his mama must live in a certain style, and since my jointure will not run to the expense of addressing these shortcomings, he will have to open his purse to accomplish it.

I long to hear all of your thoughts about Mrs. Carlton and how Susanna goes on, even though it saddens me that she will not be my daughter-in-law.

Your very dear friend,

Henrietta Arlingby

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bio: Alicia Quigley is a lifelong lover of romance novels, who fell in love with Jane Austen in grade school, and Georgette Heyer in junior high.  She made up games with playing cards using the face cards for Heyer characters, and sewed regency gowns (walking dresses, riding habits and bonnets that even Lydia Bennett wouldn’t have touched) for her Barbie.  In spite of her terrible science and engineering addiction, she remains a devotee of the romance, and enjoys turning her hand to their production as well as their consumption.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LadyLoverSmugglerSpy_Final-FJM_Kindle_1800x2700Blurb: Mrs. Valerie Carlton is the widow of a soldier who died in the Peninsular Wars. Disowned by her family for “marrying down,” she survives working as a governess. When the elder son of the family makes unwelcome advances, Valerie leaves, seeking refuge with a close friend until she can find another position.

Sir Tarquin Arlingby, a wealthy, handsome bachelor on his way home, is staying at the same inn as Valerie and witnesses her being robbed before she can board the coach. He goes to Valerie’s aid and is instantly attracted to her. As her friend’s home is near his estate, he offers to drive her there.

An unfortunate accident forces the pair to spend a night in a village inn. Over dinner, Valerie talks about her experiences during the Spanish campaign against Napoleon and the sense of mission that she felt following the drum, which she misses in her current life. Sir Tarquin, who is secretly spying for the Crown by masquerading as a smuggler to pass information in and out of France, is intrigued by her bravery and his attraction increases. Valerie is also drawn to the handsome baronet.

Tarquin needs a French-speaking woman to pose as a smuggler during a mission to the “City of Smugglers” in Gravelines. When he discovers that Valerie speaks French like a native, he successfully recruits her for the job.

Will the pair survive their dangerous mission? Will they finally acknowledge the depth of their feelings for each other?

Find out in Lady, Lover, Smuggler, Spy, a Regency romance with intrigue, humor and just the right amount of moderately explicit sex for those readers who enjoy sensuality with their romances.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt:

Valerie fell silent, looking down at her hands, and Sir Tarquin, finding himself appreciating the sight of her blonde curls, fine figure, and aura of calm, didn’t need to stretch his imagination far to imagine the son of the Forney household had been unable to resist the temptation of the pretty governess.

“It makes me angry to think of you being preyed upon,” he said abruptly, much to his own surprise.

“It is a common enough problem, and far worse has befallen others. He did not force me and, while Mrs. Forney was unkind, I left of my own volition,” said Valerie uncomfortably. “My friends have helped me before and will help me now. I would rather spend my time with children, but perhaps I will have to seek employment as a companion to an older lady instead.”

“You do not deserve a life as a drudge to children or as the companion of elderly harridan, who will doubtless have a horrid grandson who will treat you as Mr. Forney did,” Sir Tarquin exclaimed. “You are young, and have given far too much.”

“Whatever do you mean?” she asked.

“You sacrificed a husband and a family to your country, did you not?”

“I suppose you could say so, although it has been three long years since then.” A wistful look came over her face. “It seems so far away. Thinking of it now, Robert and I were both practically children; it is almost as though it happened to someone else, or was a story someone told to me.”

“Yet you are still all but penniless and without protection as a result, are you not? That is not much of an ending to the story.”

She gazed at him thoughtfully. “It was my decision, though I was far too young to understand the possible consequences. In some ways it was worth it all the same; I loved Robert as much as an eighteen-year-old can love anyone, and perhaps even more, I loved following the drum.”

Sir Tarquin looked startled. “Did you really? Surely it was a very hard life for a gently bred and sheltered young lady?”

Valerie laughed. “Indeed it was! I had no notion that such hardships were ahead of me. Yet the sense of purpose, of being needed and useful was inspiring . I was always rather bookish, and never truly enjoyed the rounds of parties and balls, to my stepmother’s despair.” She hesitated and continued, “My father you know, is very concerned about matters of manners and breeding, and my lack of interest in making a grand marriage upset him.”

Summoning up a vision of the ill-tempered Lord Upleadon, whose snobbery was legendary even among the ton, Sir Tarquin could easily imagine that he had made the Season a misery for his daughter. “I can easily imagine he was inexcusably harsh in expressing his disappointment,” he replied.

“I see you know my father, so I won’t try to deny it,” she replied with a ghost of a smile. “But I can’t regret any of the difficulties, for I did discover the powerful joy of knowing that my life had meaning and purpose, and that overcame all else.

“Even in the tail of the Army with all the camp followers, and rabble you felt so?” Sir Tarquin asked curiously.

“Oh, I rode with the column, Sir Tarquin,” she exclaimed proudly. “I had no children to care for and I was handy with horses even before I went on campaign, for my father’s stables are renowned and I spent a great deal of time in them as a child. I soon learned to kill and stew a chicken, and make sure that there was always something to eat at our billet, so it was not long before many of the other officers were to be found at our table.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buy link:

Lady, Lover, Smuggler, Spy

Social Media:

Web Site and/or Social Media links

Twitter

Facebook

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén