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A Cross-eyed Spinster?

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!

Spinster

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 insights.

“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 Kingsley.

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?

Spinster

***********

Excerpt:

Not moving his gaze from her face, he lifted the dandelion and traced it along the curve of her cheek.

Her chin.

And then her lips.

“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.

Nonetheless, he 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?”

He chuckled. “Generally, no.”

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.

“Something?” Her innocence delighted him.

“Heavy.” She said. “Warm.”

“In the air?”

“No.” Her eyes narrowed slightly. “You.”

“The Perfect Spinster has left me desperate to read more from Annabelle Anders.”––Bibliophile Ramblings.  

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?

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SK8L6GV

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07SK8L6GV

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Servants Shock the Neighborhood

Number 50, Dudley Crescent, London

July 15, 1821

Dearest Lucinda,

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.

Servants Shock

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!

Most sincerely,

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:

https://www.amazon.com/Cerise-DeLand/e/B0089DS2N2/

Or here: http://cerisedeland.com/delightful-doings-in-dudley-crescent/

What is His Wife Up To?

Stonehurst’s eyes shone with mischief. “Your wife came to my establishment earlier. She offered me five guineas to f**k her.”

Deanswood spluttered and almost spat out his brandy. “She did what?”

Stonehurst leaned back and savored a second sip of his wine. “Do you want me to repeat it? After you’ve drawn everyone’s gaze? I didn’t take her money or screw her, of course. Let’s find somewhere to talk.”

Anger turned Deanswood’s features haughty and harsh. Fists curled, he glowered at his friend. Make that former friend. He’d rather beat Stonehurst senseless than talk. “You keep your bloody hands off her.”

All Deanswood had wanted was an heir and a spare. Instead, his wife barred him from her bed—unless a quick screw with no foreplay or kisses once a month counted. He’d rather have stayed single.

He’d dreamed of a wife with a warm smile and sweet nature. Curves that made his mouth water and his palms twitch would be a bonus. Leg-shackling himself to Alethea Allerton was the biggest mistake he’d ever made.

He should have made it clear that he expected to bear his children and submit to the occasional spanking. In return, he’d teach her about passion, bondage, and obedience. Until his mother-in-law collared him in the library, he’d been looking forward to his wedding night. His mother-in-law’s words had kyboshed that.

Stonehurst struggled to contain his laughter. “So, what really happened on your wedding night?”

“It’s none of your business,” Deanswood snapped.

Unabashed, Stonehurst grinned. “Your wife made it my business. Her dress sense is shocking. Is that why you couldn’t perform last night?”

Stonehurst was right. Alethea had involved him in the tangled mess of her marriage. “Did Alethea say I couldn’t… Of course, I could… Damn it, I don’t have to explain myself to you.”

“It might help to talk about it,” Stonehurst suggested.

Deanswood sighed. “Nothing else seems to. After I’d thrown Lady Babs out, my new mother-in-law collared me in the library. She read me an endless lecture on the sins of marital sex. I’d rather take a dressing down from Wellington than endure that again.”

Inwardly, Deanswood fumed. Why the hell had his wife waited until after the ceremony to send her mother to tell him she didn’t want sex? He supposed she was eager to get her grasping hands on his fortune.

When he learned his wife planned to cuckold him, his eyes narrowed and lips thinned in anger. A trip to Gentleman Jackson’s boxing salon beckoned. Going a few rounds with the champion might calm his soul.

Stonehurst’s teasing manner vanished, and he held up both hands, palm out. “I never touched her. We’re attracting too much attention. Walk with me.”

Deanswood had fought alongside Stonehurst in the Peninsular War and again at Waterloo. They’d shared too much to fall out over a woman. That said, Stonehurst enjoyed the earl’s discomfort far too much.

His Innocent Bride

Going about her mundane life in a small fishing village, Alethea never dreamed she would end up with a man like the Earl of Deanswood, yet when she caught the handsome gentleman’s eye he wasted no time in making her his wife. Unbeknownst to Alethea, however, her conniving mother has convinced Deanswood that she has no interest in the marital bed. Devastated by his seeming disinterest, Alethea searches for someone to instruct her in the ways of enticing a man.

When a friend informs Deanswood of Alethea’s plans, he decides to train his new bride himself. Soon enough, Alethea finds herself naked, blindfolded, and helplessly bound as she is thoroughly spanked and then brought to one blushing, quivering climax after another. But when Alethea’s life is threatened by her mother’s vicious scheming, can Deanswood protect his innocent bride?

Publisher’s Note: His Innocent Bride is a stand-alone novel which shares the Regency-era setting of Wickedly Used. It includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

More about Kryssie Fortune.

Kryssie reads everything and anything, from literary fiction to sizzling romance. Her earliest memory is going to the library with her mother. She can’t have been more than two at the time. Reading, especially when a book’s hot and explicit, is more than a guilty pleasure. It’s an obsession.

Kryssie loves to visit historic sites, from Hadrian’s wall to Regency Bath. The first book she fell in love with was Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax. After that, she devoured every regency book she could. After a while, they went out of fashion, but part of Kryssie’s psyche lives in in in Regency London. She longs to dance quadrilles and flirt behind fans. Of course, Kryssie’s heroines do far more than flirt.

Kryssie lives in Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast –about thirty miles from Whitby, where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula. She enjoys gardening, travel, and socializing with her author friends. You’d be surprised how many erotic romance authors live in the North of England.

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

 

 

Mr. Clemens will be pleased!

Lady Abigail Danvers tapped her sister’s arm with her fan before discreetely nodding toward the study door. This house party just got interesting.

Lady Prudence leaned forward. “Is that—”

The Ainslie Sisters by Thomas Stewardson 1808

“Yes,” Abigail replied. Snapping open her fan, she began waving it in front of her suddenly flushed face. Oh the implication of this tryst was too shocking for words.

“But did I not just see the Duke of Hartford—”

“Yes… he is in there as well,” Abigail said.

Prudence giggled. “Is it possible he is having an affair with his ex-mistress right in front of his new fiancé’s nose?”

Abigail shrugged but her eyes sparked at the thought. “I wonder what Mr. Clemens at the Teatime Tattler would pay for firsthand knowledge of this story?”

Laughter rumbled out of Prudence causing several heads to turn in their direction before she recovered herself. “Why Abigail Danvers, you sly thing you. Usually I am the one who comes up with these little schemes.”

Abigail peeked at her sister before a giggled escaped her. “You must be a bad influence on me,” she playfully scolded.

There was no further time for words between them because they were witnessing what was sure to make the front page of the paper. Prudence gasped, which surely must have been a first for her. Nothing ever seemed to shock her sister.

Abigail tugged on Prudence’s sleeve. “We best get home and write this up so we can deliver it to Mr. Clemens first thing in the morning. We do not wish someone to report such a juicy bit of gossip before us.”


This little piece of tittle-tattle comes to you from Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing, with her compliments. The Duke of Hartford’s story will be coming soon in One Moment In Time: A Family of Worth, Book Two. In the meantime, read about him as a secondary character in Nothing But Time: A Family of Worth, Book One. You can learn more about Sherry on the tab above or at the social media links listed below.

 

Nothing But Time:
A Family of Worth, Book One

They will risk everything for their forbidden love…

When Lady Gwendolyn Marie Worthington is forced to marry a man old enough to be her father, she concludes love will never enter her life. Her husband is a cruel man who blames her for his own failings. Then she meets her brother’s attractive business associate, and all those longings she had thought gone forever suddenly reappear.

A long-term romance holds no appeal for Neville Quinn, Earl of Drayton until an unexpected encounter with the sister of the Duke of Hartford. Still, he resists giving his heart to another woman, especially one who belongs to another man.

Chance encounters lead to intimate dinners, until Neville and Gwendolyn flee to Berwyck Castle at Scotland’s border hoping beyond reason their fragile love will survive the vindictive reach of Gwendolyn’s possessive husband. Before their journey is over, Gwendolyn will risk losing the only love she has ever known.

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