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A note from a Disgruntled Reader who says, “Publish This If You Dare!”

Dear Mr. Clemens,

Until last week, you enjoyed my greatest confidence that the Teatime Tattler reported London’s juiciest gossip. But now I must pose this question: whyever was your coverage of the Duke’s ball so woefully incomplete?

Becoming WantonI have never before risked such correspondence, but I cannot resist, for I wish to know, sir. Do you abuse your discretion as publisher to protect certain lords in Parliament? Or were your usual sources so captivated by the obvious they overlooked the most delicious gossip? To be fair, most guests at the ball were not afforded my view…

Oh, I do not disagree that Lady Clara’s scandal was noteworthy. An earl’s sister and a Scottish industrialist? Yes, of course I gasped along with everyone else when that commoner brute swept her into his muscled arms after she swooned! And again when, carrying her to the terrace, he shouldered the very host of the ball out of the way! The Duke!

Any informed reader cannot, however, be surprised. This is the lady who withdrew from her coming-out season and rejected favorable courtships. Why, any close Mayfair neighbor can attest to the wicked music her fingers regularly elicit from her piano. Chopin’s most fervent pieces!

The other honorable guests at the ball were agape at the Scotsman and Lady Clara, but I cannot purge a different passionate image from my memory. I shall share it with you, sir, on the chance that its omission from the Tattler was not occasioned by favoritism. 

At first I cursed being of such delicate stature and politeness that I did not forcefully maneuver to the front of the crowd. I now suspect a divine hand placed me, permitting me to witness…

No, before sharing that, first I must ask you—were you as gullible as I? Did you, too, believe the Marquess of Candleton was the proper statesman his activities in the House of Lords suggest? Were you taken in by the Marchioness’s modest gowns and impeccable manners all these years? Do not feel foolish, for I also had the wool pulled over my eyes. No more.

What was Lady Candleton’s expression full of as she observed the scene with Lady Clara? Not disapproval, as one might have assumed, nor gentle concern. No, she watched raptly and with envy—the kind with knowledge behind it. Her virtuous airs dupe me no longer. 

If that wasn’t shocking enough, do be certain to sit before you read on. Lord Candleton, Britain’s champion and architect of reform, was not watching the scene everyone else was, oh no. He had eyes only for…his wife! 

Suspend your disbelief; cast aside your assumptions about this lord and lady. Had you seen the fierce look of unfulfilled desire in Lord Candleton’s eyes this Society Matron did, you would have no doubt. Mark my words, something is raging within the Marquess and Marchioness, something we would all agree has no place in a respectable marriage!

***

About Becoming Wanton by Rebecca Aubrey: 

This couple’s dilemma? They’re both married…to each other.

Lord William Dalfour, Marquess of Candleton, is in a terrible fix. Oh, he knows what’s expected of him. By day, he’s to face Britain’s challenges as a notable member of the House of Lords. Night means siring heirs in the dark with his marchioness, but only with the utmost decorum. His animalistic urges…well, those are to be unleashed in the Thames Fencing Club. Or with a mistress—if he had one.

One does not engage in wantonness with one’s wife and mother of one’s children. Oh, no. One does not become enchanted by one’s wife!

A respected society hostess and devoted parent, Lady Beatrice should be fulfilled by domestic bliss and having her husband’s ear on parliamentary business. Behind closed doors, however, she dares to come into her own, asking for more and testing the limits of William’s insistence on propriety—and his self-control.

No matter the pain his rejection inflicts, William’s highest duty is to keep Bea wholesome. Isn’t it? To protect her, even from himself? From herself. But what if honoring his wife means succumbing to their mutual craving? Worshiping her, body and soul…

Don’t miss Trade of a Lifetime, Book One in the Trade Wind Series, about Lady Clara and James Robertson. 

Becoming Wanton on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B4LZNWK5

About Rebecca Aubrey:

Romantic by birth. Author by choice.

Rebecca AubreyRebecca writes about strong women, the men they find compelling, and the passion that ensues. Oh, and their clothes come off—whether corsets or clergy collars, gowns or gun holsters, breeches or business suits.

Count on intense emotional and physical attraction, and meticulously-researched settings. Between daydreams, Rebecca has detailed plans for her next book, bake, and cocktail—and a vague notion of what’s for dinner. Rebecca is also a lawyer and proud graduate of Smith College.

Visit her website and sign up for her newsletters at www.rebeccaaubrey.com.

Has a Young Lady Committed a Most Imprudent Act?

Scandal Brewing in Gloucester?

Miss W–, the only daughter of Baron D–, used to be such a sweet young girl. You never saw her acting the hoyden or causing her father the least amount of embarrassment. Why, after she returned from finishing school, she all but vanished from the Burwick social scene, apparently preferring demure domestic activities and the quiet milieu of the family’s country manor. In fact, you rarely saw Miss W—except on her charitable rounds among the estate tenants who, one and all, have nothing but good to say about the girl.

So it is with great dismay we report that Miss W—has been observed entertaining a male visitor in secret!

This clandestine rendezvous occurred at night under her father’s very nose. The Vulgar Visitor actually climbed the wall of the tower at W—Manor.!  There is some speculation he must have used a rope, like a common criminal or seaman.

One has to ask, Where was Miss W—‘s companion when all this transpired?

We are immensely disappointed in our beloved country miss. It is to be hoped that her father uses a firm hand in dealing with this situation. Especially as we have heard rumors of an advantageous marriage under discussion by the baron and Someone with a good deal of influence at the Prince Regent’s court. It would be a shame if Miss W—were to ruin her chances with this personage.

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THE CAPTAIN’S LAST QUEST

A Novella by Donna Maloy

In the Dragonblade Publishing anthology, TALES OF TIMELESS ROMANCE

He can scale his captive lady’s tower to rescue her—

but can he convince her to love him?

Miss Letitia Waire is determined to escape her greedy, domineering father and the lecherous old earl he’s betrothed her to. But her father has confined Letty to a tower bedroom and hired seven hulking bodyguards to thwart any attempt to evade the marriage. Letty knows better than to hope for love—a fairytale myth—but she’d settle for almost anyone other than the brutal Viscount Rosingham. No man who would beat his horse would ever touch her. That said, she did need a man. Preferably one with enough money or high title to win her father’s consent.

Captain Nicholas Monton is a returning naval war hero and the “almost” heir to the Duke of Landsdowne. His dying brother urges him to marry and prepare for life as the new marquess. But the simpering, capricious debutantes of London do not fire Nick’s soul. He will not settle for less than a gentle, loyal and amiable wife—and love. When a friend tells him of Letty’s plight, he is moved and agrees to a contrived meeting. Enraged by the bruises he sees and the rough way she is treated by her bodyguards, Nick is ready to avenge Letty when the lady surprises him by exacting her own revenge.

Nick crosses “gentle” off his list. Fascinated, he begins his campaign to win the trust of a strong woman who has never known kindness. But Letty, cautiously beginning to care for the handsome captain, feels abandoned when he leaves for his brother’s funeral. And with Nick gone, the angry viscount seizes his chance to abduct her.

Though Nick is now titled and the Duke’s heir, that’s all meaningless unless he can rescue Letty before their chance at happiness is destroyed.

***

The story of The Captain’s Last Quest was inspired by the true-life courtship of Princess Charlotte (England’s original “People’s Princess) and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a royal fairy-tale romance that really happened in the Regency era.

***

TALES OF TIMELESS ROMANCE

From the publisher: Enjoy the very best of Historical Romance with this limited edition, NEW MATERIAL collection. These are never before published romantic tales based on mythical and legendary love stories, all of them with a happily ever after sure to satisfy. But what makes this collection so special? Each author was a finalist in Dragonblade Publishing’s annual The Write Stuff contest. This collection is a curated bundle of their very finest, so if you’re looking for new stories to fall in love with – and new authors to adore – then pick up this collection or read for FREE in KINDLE UNLIMITED.  

BUY LINK: https://amzn.to/3y6VYff

So Arthur Was Born by Fil Reid
To Kiss an Outlaw by Cara Hogarth
The Heart of Sherwood by Gemma Sydney
The Captain’s Last Quest by Donna Maloy
The Art of Love by Stephanie Patterson
A Poetic Season by Peri Maxwell

***

EXCERPT: The Captain’s Last Quest

“Come here,” he whispered. “There is something wrong with your face.”

She forced herself to walk closer. 

“What’s wrong with me?” 

He reached through the slit and softly touched her cheek. She flinched and looked away.

“Two things. You haven’t been cherished as you should be. No man has ever been allowed to look inside and see your strength, your intelligence, your astonishing beauty. We can fix that.”

He said astonishing beauty. Mine.

Heart skipping madly, she lifted her eyes to his.

“And the second thing?”

“You haven’t been kissed until you can hardly stand up. But we can fix that, too.”

She must have leaned closer. She must have closed her eyes. But all she knew was the pressure of soft lips, caressing hers. Oh. My. Heaven.

He gently licked her lips. When she opened her mouth in surprise, his tongue entered and tangled with hers. 

Birds might have been singing arias nearby. The ground might have disappeared beneath her feet. None of it mattered. There was only this kiss. Her first.

The Captain put his hand behind Letty’s head and drew her closer. His mouth moved over her jaw and down her neck with soft, nibbling kisses that made the rest of her ache. Her breasts felt oddly warm and heavy as though he were touching her there. If they married, she could ask him to kiss her there, too.

She pressed closer, daring herself to touch him. Her hand reached out to cup his cheek.

“Oh, hell. I didn’t hear the damned bird call,” the captain muttered against her ear.

Letty suddenly found herself standing alone in front of an empty window. Two men were shouting below and Captain Monton was gone.

***

THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Donna Maloy has always daydreamed about living in some other time, some other place. A long time ago, library cards were her ticket to all those strange, inviting other worlds— as long as she had transportation to the library. Now e-readers let her instantaneously fill her hunger for exciting adventures and emotional love stories.

Donna writes adventurous books with unique characters learning about life, love, treachery and loyalty.

Newsletter Sign-Up: https://bit.ly/3LbxA1i

Website:  https://donnamaloy.com

Facebook: https://facebook.com/DonnaMaloyAuthor

Instagram: https://instagram.com/AuthorMaloy

Author Amazon page: https://amzn.to/3K0TOSz

Goodreads Author page: https://bit.ly/3L38At4

Twitter: https://twitter.com/donnamaloy

News and Appeal for Aid from a Rival Publisher!

My dear Mr. Clemens,

Though in the usual course of things we are rival publishers, I come to you today on bended knee. My printing press has broken down and I am unable to issue the latest edition of Hither and Yon, Tales of the Beau Monde. On any other day I would simply set aside the articles meant to go to print today. However, Mr. Clemens, this is no ordinary day and the news I have to impart cannot—nay, should not—be held back. It regards a certain raven-haired duke. Would you, kind sir, be amenable to printing this article of mine? I am open to negotiating the financials. 

I await your reply,

A. Ripley, proprietor—Ripley and Sons Printing

Dear Mr. Ripley,

Send the article to me with all due haste. I will share the profits of today’s edition at a 70/30 split.

S. Clemens

Sir,

I appreciate your efficiency and sense of business, however I do think 60/40 would be more appropriate. The article should read as follows:

It appears that a certain bachelor duke, of the house of T—, has at last decided to cast his eye upon the marriage mart. He not only attended a ball at Northfield House, he spoke with a number of eligible young ladies. The shock of the evening came with His Grace’s first dance. Did he escort a marquess’s daughter or an earl’s sister to the dance floor? No, dear reader, he most assuredly did not. He offered his arm to a young lady so undistinguished this author does not even know her name. The only remarkable thing about her was the monstrously hideous gown she wore. His Grace, ever the gentleman, seemed to take no notice. He did laugh, though, an achievement the young lady should take to heart forevermore, especially since she has no chance to land the illustrious duke. Oh indeed, this should be an interesting Season!

Ever grateful,

A. Ripley

Mr. Ripley,

Considering the content of your article, my final offer is 65/35. 

S. Clemens

Book title: His Duchess, first in the His & Hers series

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08WPRFTL4 

Other retailers: https://books2read.com/u/49lEd0

Blurb:

Victoria Foster needs a husband. Orphaned, nearly penniless, saddled with an indifferent guardian plus a cousin intent on sabotaging her matrimonial hopes, she cannot afford to be a wallflower. Unfortunately for her, the only man in her path is a stuffy, well-above-her-touch duke. But with every fateful encounter, she glimpses more and more of the lonely, kindred soul behind the duke’s decorous demeanor.

Charles Danforth, Duke of Taviston, is seeking a wife. Nothing if not methodical, he determines a set of qualities his future bride must possess—neither love nor passion makes the list. Above all, she must be free of scandal so as not to tarnish the family legacy. Soon enough though, Taviston’s well-ordered life, impeccable social standing, and not-so-impenetrable heart are in jeopardy.

What’s an exceedingly proper duke to do when he finds himself embroiled in a scandal of his own making? 

Excerpt:

“Miss Foster, would you favor me with this dance?” He stepped forward and offered his hand. Her blue eyes fixated on it as if he had six fingers.

“She would be delighted,” Louisa replied brightly as she shoved her cousin in the small of the back, propelling the lady straight into Taviston.

 He pressed his lips into a thin line to keep from bringing the uncouth woman down a peg. When Miss Foster placed her small hand in his, he steered the two of them away from their intimate assembly with more haste than was proper.

Taviston was none too fond of dancing, especially these lengthy contra dances, but right now he would have gladly participated in three or four just to escape Louisa Browne. He glanced down at Miss Foster, who had not spoken so much as a word since their departure from the group. An odd despondency shrouded her face as they lined up for the dance.

For heaven’s sakes, he had never seen a young lady so reluctant to dance with him. As the music whistled around their heads and the other couples gracefully glided down the floor, he watched a rigid paralysis overtake his partner’s body, from head to toe. What was the matter with her?

When the couple beside them finally proceeded past, Taviston reached out and lightly grasped her hand. After a brief second, he instinctively tightened his grip, not wishing to ever let her go. She must not have felt the same for she bowed her head as if concentrating on her feet. He began moving to the rhythm of the music; Miss Foster moved as well, although unfortunately nothing remotely resembling rhythm was involved on her part.

By the time they were halfway down the line she had already stepped on his toes three times. Not that this was painful, as her feet were as small and dainty as the rest of her. But in the next instant those tiny feet became tangled amongst themselves, and Miss Foster fell into a headlong trip. Taviston snaked his arm out to prevent her fall and caught her around the waist. Soft breasts on his forearm and aromatic waves of lavender caused a certain unruly part of his body to tense. He was damn lucky he didn’t drop her from the shock of it all. Instead, he effortlessly swung her back into an upright position and settled her on her feet once again. Mercifully, they reached their position in the line within a few more steps.

Taviston stared across at Miss Foster, who eyed her feet as if she wished to chop them off. Two reddening ovals outlined her cheekbones.

“Miss Foster.”

She ever so slowly lifted her head, misery, but thankfully no tears, filling her eyes. “I am so sorry.”

He shook off her apology. “Try something simpler, like a skip.”

Her eyebrows marched upward, as if to say how is that simpler? But she nodded affirmatively anyway. They promenaded around the other couples and then the dancers began moving through the line again.

Awkwardly, they made it through with only one small stumble on her part, which alas only required that he lift her hand up to help her regain her balance. He would have gladly caught her again and again, if only to touch her and experience the heady pleasure enveloping his body when he did so.

As they took their places again, he attempted to lighten her mood with conversation. “That’s an interesting gown.”

She glanced down and then back up. “I’m not sure ‘interesting’ is the word I would have chosen. I have lived in fear all evening that the staff would mistake me for a fowl to be served up at the midnight supper.”

Taviston couldn’t help it, he laughed. Exactly what he had envisioned, some rustic bird. For a brief moment she looked startled by his laughter, but then flashed him the most brilliant smile. Something tightened in his chest. Her smile gave her face beauty and passion that hadn’t been there before.

They were required to make one more pass down the line of dancers. This they did without Miss Foster tripping even once, though she did bump her hip into Taviston’s thigh three different times. He didn’t mind in the least.

Bio:

Charlotte Russell didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. At one point she had grand plans to be an architect, until she realized she couldn’t draw anything more complicated than a stick figure. So, she enrolled at Notre Dame and studied her first love—history. Now she writes historical and contemporary romances. When not pounding on the keyboard or tending to her family, she serves the people of her community at the local public library. She’s resided in numerous locales, including Indiana, Mexico City, Phoenix, and Seattle but currently lives in the middle of the US.

Find Charlotte:

Suspicious Behavior in York

Dear Euphemia,

Can you enlighten me about the boisterous clan of Bigglesworth women that have invaded York Society this Season? The younger daughters are being launched (one might say cast upon us) and are being feted hither and yon as “the Seahaven Diamonds.” Anyone who is anyone scurried about hoping for invitations to the grand ball they hosted to celebrate said launch, though my own invitation went astray. But that is neither here nor there.

York is virtually crawling with Bigglesworth women. One cannot pay a morning call on a friend without encountering two or three of them, as if they travel in packs. One encounters them in the shops. Some were seen dragging some poor bored children along the walls for a history lecture. Others are rather too cozy with the horse racing scene. Always they are dressed fashionably, which leads one to wonder. How are they managing the expense?

You live near Starbrook and are quite cozy (or so you claim) with the new Earl of Seahaven’s Dear Wife. You gave me the impression in times past that the earl left the widowed countess with little or nothing. How did that chit, the former countess—the fifth wife in a row who failed to produce a male child—manage a season for all those stepdaughters, even the ones clearly on the shelf? Can you enlighten me?

One wonders whether one ought to befriend some or all, or even if one ought to receive them. As if the number and questionable situation weren’t enough, morals are in question. My maid heard a story from our footman who took ale with another footman, one that had been hired by the Bigglesworths—temporarily, mind you, to handle the undiscerning crowds that descended on them after their ball. That person testified that at least one of those young women was seen creeping out of a closet with her clothing askew and her hair out of place in the company of Viscount Stanbeck’s shabby younger brother who purports to be a curate. What must they teach young clergy these days?

Do write back quickly. The Season moves swiftly, and that baggage and her tribe of daughters are everywhere. Ought I avoid them?

Sir William, my dear husband, sends his regards.

Yours

Marian, Lady Smithers

About the Book: Desperate Daughters

Love Against the Odds

The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.

The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.

When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.

They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.

So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close.

Among them?  “Lady Dorothea’s Curate,” by Caroline Warfield

Employed at a hotel in order to assist her stepmother, Lady Dorothea Bigglesworth had no use for a title. It would only invite scorn, or, worse, pity. Plain Miss Doro Bigglesworth suited her fine.

Ben Clarke dedicated his life to helping the neediest. It gave his life meaning. He tended to forget the younger son of a viscount went by “Honorable.”

Working together at Pilgrim’s Rest, neither saw the need to mention it to the other, before fate separated them. When they were formally introduced after an unexpected reunion— in a ballroom in York—shock rocked them both. Can their budding love survive?

You can find links to various vendors here:

https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/

From the Editor’s Desk

From the desk of Sam’l Clemens, esq.

December 15

Dear readers, kind followers, critics, and vile attackers,

We at the Tattler thank you for your attention throughout this past year, whether you have applauded or showered us in brickbats (all attention is good and we’re pleased when you mention our name).

As the year draws to a close, our reporters grow weary. I have surrendered to pleas and declared that The Teatime Tattler shall be on hiatus. This respite began at close of business yesterday and will, I regret to say, continue until the middle of January when the rascals and rogues I call reporters shall have returned from the burrows into which they have disappeared. One hopes they will bring with them tantalizing tales, ribald rumors, and stories of disgraceful deeds: our stock and trade. One ambitious young fellow is off to visit his granny in Yorkshire, where, we hear, some salacious scandal is brewing.

I myself wish to spend these holidays in Bristol with a nephew who is soon to depart to the former colonies. I hope to convince him to send dispatches from that wild and uncivilized place.

We shall do our best to return to you reinvigorated and prepared to bring you the gossip you crave as often as may prove possible. Enjoy your winter revels, and do send us any tidbits you come across.

S. Clemens

 

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