Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Tag: Spies Page 1 of 2

Gossip Spreads Through Fenwick on Sea

Kitty Smothers, youngest and newest of the girls in service at the Queen’s Barque, swung her broom with more enthusiasm than skill. It didn’t much matter. With the inn bursting at the seams and all the paying rooms full of well-off travelers, Mrs. Brewster sent them to clean out the old wing, the one with more cobwebs than heat and more mice than usable furniture. They needed it for all the refugees coming up from the beach, didn’t they?

The storm, the fiercest in all of Kitty’s fourteen years, rattled the windows where there was still glass, where they hadn’t been papered over. She listened wide eyed while Nelly Jones chattered a mile a minute while she swatted at the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and giggled with Annie Burke.

“I think Mr. Simon is the handsomest,” Annie said.

“He don’t hold a candle to Captain Rousseau—Jasper,” Nelly sighed dramatically.

“Looks more like a pirate to me, him with that ship stuck out on the shoals,” Annie argued. “Mr. Simon has that mysterious air…”

“Sneaky more like,” Nelly said. “and besides, he’s married.”

“Shows what you know.” Annie dropped her voice and beckoned Nelly closer. Kitty moved nearer to listen. “Those girls Mrs. Fullerton sent over from Morphew Manor told Mags and Alice in the kitchen that there’s folks from London staying at the manor.”

“So what’s that to us?” Nelly said out loud.

Annie shushed her. “Mags told me they’re here for that so-called Mrs. Simon. Says she’s really betrothed to the dandy staying at the Manor. Simon isn’t married at all.”

Kitty tilted her head, puzzled. “But he and Mrs. Simon are sharing a room.”

Annie and Nelly laughed at her. “You think every pair that puts up at an inn claiming to be married really are?”

“How about that Lord Stanton. He’s as handsome as can be,” Kitty said.

“He’s a lord, ain’t he? No point in mooning after a lord,” Annie said. “Besides, have you seen how he looks at his lady? Honeymooning those two—for sure.”

“But you said not every couple who claim to be married…” Kitty still thought he was handsome.

“Some are, you ninny. The real question about those two is what are they doing in Fenwick on Sea? Folks like that go to Paris. Or Brighton. Odd if you ask me,” Nelly said.

“I’ll tell you who’s odd. That Cosistas fellow. Slimy fish. Have you seen how he looks at that Fynlock woman? Gives me the creeps.” Annie shivered just to show them.

“I—” Whatever Kitty would have said was interrupted by an arrival.

“How is this room coming? Can I send in the men with the straw bedding?” Patience Abney, she that teaches at the charity school above town, stood in the door waiting for an answer.

“Will do in a few more minutes, Miss Abney,” Annie said.

Patience smiled at them. “Good. Mr. Somerville the vicar came with word there are more folk on their way. We need every room. Hurry it up.” She swept out.

Nelly made an ugly face after her.

“I like Miss Abney; she’s always kind,” Kitty said. “It’s generous of her to help out.”

“She’s only working here to pay so her boys can stay out in the stables,” Annie said.

“Thinks she’s better than us, her with her fancy school. Peter told me their roof caved in. We’ll see how high and mighty she is now,” Nelly said.

“High enough. I heard talk,” Annie said.

“What do you mean?” Kitty asked, finishing up her sweeping and picking up the dust pan.

“I heard those two high nosed ladies in the big suite on the first floor talking. Patience Abney isn’t what she looks like. She’s an earl’s niece.”

“Gol. Come on hard times for sure, emptying night soil like the rest of us and sweeping up this ruin of a wing,” Nelly said.

“Got that right,” Annie agreed.

The girls finished the room and picked up their rags and brooms to move on. When they squeezed by Patience Abney in the hall directing footmen to bring straw bedding to the room they just finished, Nelly dipped a mocking curtsy behind her back and Annie giggled.

They handed all the dirty rags and dust pan to Kitty, sending her to the kitchen. As Kitty walked away, she heard Nelly’s last pronouncement.

“I’ll tell you what else I heard. Some folks think there’s a reporter from that Teatime Tattler staying here, taking notes on all these folks. What do you think of that?”

Kitty continued downstairs, dumped the dirt and picked up new rags. She nodded greetings to Alice, Mags, and the girls from Morphew Manor who waited tables and worked in the kitchen. On her way out something caught her eye, lying on the work table. It was The Teatime Tattler folded up to a headline, “Storm ravages Great Yarmouth and the coast.”

“Get on with it, Kitty. This isn’t a library,” Mrs. Brewster snapped pointing to the door.

Kitty smiled on her way up the servant stairs. “We’re going to be famous.”

***

A Reporter Snooping Around? We can’t have it. There’s an award for the person that figures out who it is. The answers are buried in Storm & Shelter.

A Bluestocking Belles with Friends Collection

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

Available on Amazon or various other vendors,

More about each story here.

Join the Hunt

There are three big prizes. Enter the contest!

How to enter

  • Read the book.
  • Send your guess about the identity of person writing the reports for The Teatime Tattler to teatimetattlereditor@yahoo.com

Details are here!

A Traitress In the Tower?

There have numerous reports of strange goings on in the capital yesterday, after a flotilla of Royal Navy gunships sailed unexpectedly down the Thames in broad daylight. Despite petitioning the Admiralty for an explanation for this strange phenomenon during a time of peace, this reporter has been unsuccessful in procuring an answer from anyone in authority. In fact, the government has remained very tight-lipped on the matter, stating only that the ships involved were on a mission of the utmost secrecy regarding a matter of national security!

But fear not for your safety, dear reader! These shores are not under imminent threat of invasion nor are our brave sailors preparing for yet another war. Our sources inside the hallowed halls of Whitehall tell us the naval escort was merely a precautionary measure to ensure one of England’s most wanted criminals was brought to town to face justice. The excessive security was necessary because the suspect has managed to escape the clutches of the authorities not once- but twice- since their arrest on the continent last week.

Witnesses also saw a prisoner being taken into custody. But whoever this nefarious scoundrel is, they have been deemed too dangerous for Newgate! They were taken to the Tower of London no less, through the infamous Traitor’s Gate! And if that detail isn’t scandalous enough, it also appears this fearsome traitor is a woman!


We wait with bated breath to hear the lady’s identity and the charges she has been held on. All we can say, with any certainty, is that whoever she is, what ever she has done, our sources say she will hang for her crimes. Until then, an additional battalion of Royal Marines and the King’s finest agents have been drafted in to guard her. Even the Royal Navy gunships remain anchored next to the fortress to keep the wench inside…

The Uncompromising Lord Flint

Imprisoned by her past– set free by her enemy!

Charged with high treason, Lady Jessamine Fane is under the watchful eye of icily calm Lord Peter Flint. It’s a task this spy won’t be swayed from, no matter how alluring his prisoner! Only it’s not long before Flint realises that tenacious Jess hides a lifetime of pain. With so much at stake, can he afford to take a chance on their powerful attraction?

Buy the book  http://viewbook.at/kingselite2

About the Author

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. But despite publishing fourteen books already, there are still hundreds more in her head so it still takes her ages to fall asleep.

Website https://www.virginiaheathromance.com/

Or follow her daily witterings and the diary of her Labrador Trevor on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/virginiaheathauthor/

Asking For A Friend…

Dear Mr Clemens,

I have a friend who is at her wits end and doesn’t know what to do, but she enjoys your newspaper even if she can only read it very slowly and has seen you have offered your sage advice to many others before her. I shan’t tell you her name because the situation is very delicate, and she is likely very soon to become engaged to a Duke, so I must preserve her good reputation.

asking for a friendI say likely, because the whole ton expects the announcement eagerly, and they have done for over a year. I cannot imagine why he is dragging his feet because my friend is considered very beautiful and charming. Yet not only has he failed to ask her, he’s also never bothered trying to steal a kiss either which is very odd. Especially as she’s lauded as an incomparable and had men queuing for her hand before the duke came along.

In truth, he rather scared everyone else off and I had my head turned… I mean my friend did. Who wouldn’t want to marry a duke? Even if this one is a little dull and pads his jackets… only talks about himself…

But I digress, because whilst my friend has been doing absolutely everything in her power- short of smacking him across his arrogant head with her fan to chivvy him into a proposal- there has been another complication.

An unforeseen, unexpected and utterly thrilling complication.

She’s met another man and is inexplicably drawn to him. He’s not noble- not by any chalk- but he is kind and handsome, painfully shy and most definitely does not need to pad out his jacket! I know this because I accidentally encountered him stripped to the waist at my sister’s house a few months ago and I have been entirely unable to dismiss the scandalously magnificent picture of his manly body from my mind.

And he’s a spy! On an important government mission. A secret he entrusted only to me… I mean my friend… when she recognized him pretending to be someone else. Now she is helping him navigate the murky waters of society, a place he feels very uncomfortable within, and in return he is going to make my, er, the duke jealous to hasten the anticipated engagement. Which is marvellous, I suppose, although I’m not entirely sure I want things sped along now that I’ve met Seb… I mean since she met him.

What should my friend do?

Yours sincerely

Befuddled of Berkeley Square

About the Book, The Mysterious Lord Millcroft

Life as a duchess… Or something much more dangerous…?

Constantly told her beauty and charm is all she has to offer, Lady Clarissa is intent on marrying a duke. And intriguing spy Sebastian Leatham will help her! Only first she’ll assist him with his new assignment—playing the part of confident aristocrat Lord Millcroft. Sebastian awakens a burning desire within Clarissa which leaves her questioning whether becoming a duchess is what she truly longs for…
Purchase on Amazon

About the Author

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. But it still takes her ages to fall asleep.

Website: https://www.virginiaheathromance.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/virginiaheathauthor/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VirginiaHeath_

 

Lord Parkington Speaks Out

You’d think that all would be well, what with Napoleon now exiled to the distant tropical island of St. Helena, but Paris in July 1815 is a deuce of a mess. So now I must assist Lord Forgall, Wellington’s most secret spymaster, to quell any resistance while we get King Louis XVIII’s fat old backside firmly re-settled on the French throne.

“Of course, always glad to do my duty,” I told Lord Forgall (Forgall the Wily, as we diplomats call him). But under my breath, I added, “though we’d be a damned sight better off without that Irish fellow.”

The Irish fellow in question is Captain Stephen Killian. One of the Inniskilling Dragoons – they did their job at Waterloo, I’m not saying they did not, but like any other soldier, he’s only suited for rough and brutal tasks. So why on earth would he want to be a spy? Killian is a devil of a fighter in battle, they say, even though he’s not one of your huge, hulking types. He’s just of middling height, rather lean, and not even that good-looking. Average at best, easily lost in a crowd. Yet women fawn over him. Of course, they go completely giddy over any man with a strong jaw and a thick head of hair – let him cut a fine figure, and nothing else matters. Utterly frivolous!

Not that I would object to a touch of frivolousness in the lovely Miss Emma Forgall. Her inky black tresses and jade green eyes are fetching indeed, and her figure is perfection.  She’s got that cold and regal air, but her father likes me. Given time, she’ll warm up to me, too. One would naturally prefer that such a beautiful young lady not be aware of State Secrets—you know how the ladies love to chatter, bless them!—but her father insists that she is the most skilled cryptographer he has ever taught. Still, there will be no more of that, once she’s married to me.

I don’t deny I was dismayed when Wellington made such a fuss over Captain Killian’s “heroism” for standing his ground on that Parisian bridge that General Blucher was trying to blow up. Wellington took such a shine to him, he ordered Lord Forgall to teach the Irishman spycraft and code-breaking. Naturally, the particulars of that task would fall to his daughter, Miss Emma.

However, old Forgall told me that his plan is to pretend to take Captain Killian under his wing while ensuring that the fellow is an utter failure at the job. I’ve heard Killian’s a wild man in battle – so he hasn’t got the self-control to be a spy.  With any luck, he’ll be killed by that devilish Prussian assassin Wolfgang. I’ve seen Wolfgang dangling after Miss Emma, too, blast the big blonde brute’s eyes.

Maybe the two of them can slaughter each other, and leave Miss Forgall to me – now there’s a happy prospect!

One day, she will be mine. Until then, I’ll just have to keep my eye on her…

HER WILD IRISH ROGUE-coming October 2018

~an excerpt~

Miss Emma Forgall waved her fan lazily. “Where in Ireland are you from?”

“I’m from Macha’s Brooch,” Captain Killian replied, hands clasped behind his back and feet set sturdily apart. Somewhere in the back of the elegant Parisian ballroom, the orchestra struck up a tune.

Lord Parkington snorted. “Impossible. Macha’s Brooch isn’t a place.”

It’s a riddle, you fool, Emma wanted to say. Why wouldn’t Lord Parkington go away? Just because Emma’s father approved of him, that didn’t give him permission to act like he was her keeper.

She ignored him and thought about the riddle. In Celtic legend, the goddess Macha used the point of her brooch-pin to scratch the boundaries of the city of Ulster into the ground and made her vanquished enemies dig its fortifications for her.

Macha’s Brooch meant Ulster.

“Ulster is a great distance from Paris,” Emma remarked casually, watching Captain Killian’s face for signs that she’d gotten it right. “Where did you stop along the way, when you traveled here?”

He shrugged his wide shoulders. “We stopped in the home of the man who herds the cattle on the plain of Tethra.”

“The what?” demanded Lord Parkington, who still hadn’t gone away. The man simply never could take a hint. “What are you talking about?”

Another riddle. She was beginning to enjoy herself. Good thing she knew her myths – Tethra was an ancient guardian deity ruling over the waters, and the “plain of Tethra” was the sea. Therefore, the cattle of the sea were…fish. Captain Killian had stayed at the home of a fisherman.

“So your host was a fisherman,” she said coolly. “No doubt you had excellent fish for dinner?”

He grinned at her. “Most excellent fish.”

Right, again! Emma’s heart gave a little hop of excitement. She smiled back at him and asked, “And where did your travels take you then?”

“Simple enough,” replied Captain Killian. “We went over the Great Secret of the men of Dea,  down the Great Crime, across to the Land of the Red Dragon, to the Ford of Oxen, and then to Caer-Lud. Then on to Lutetia.”

“What nonsense are you spouting?” Lord Parkington howled. “Surely you can’t pretend that you understand him, Miss Forgall!”

Emma waved a dismissive hand. She knew her Celtic mythology and her ancient Roman history. Besides, it was worth it just to see Lord Parkington’s purple-faced frustration.

“So, down the Boyne, over the River Delvin, across the sea to Wales, and then through Oxford to London. And here you are in Lutetia—or, as we call it, Paris.”

“Exactly.” Captain Killian nodded. “Now tell me about yourself.”

About the Author

Saralee Etter is the author of three traditional Regency romances. Her next book, coming October 2018, will be HER WILD IRISH ROGUE. It is part of the LEGENDS TO LOVE Regency romance series, with a protagonist based on the legendary Irish hero Cuchulain. She is working on A SHORT SHARP SHOCK, the first book in a Victorian-set mystery series featuring sleuth Lucy Turner and her friends, William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

You can visit her on the web at www.saraleeetter.com

Artwork:

Portrait of William Cathcart, 1st Earl Cathcart,  by Thomas Gainsborough,

Duchess of Richmond’s Ball, by Robert Alexander Hillingford

Both in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons

 

Be Careful What You Ask a Hero

“There you are,” Amelia, Elizabeth’s dearest friend, exclaimed as edged past a group of giggling young ladies to where Elizabeth was standing under the balcony. “Where did you disappear?”

Feigning interest in the quheroadrille while keeping a keen eye open for her informant, Elizabeth answered with nonchalance. “I’ve been enjoying the opulence and gaiety of the evening.”

“Why are your answers always so vague?”

“They are not…” Elizabeth’s words trailed off as Amelia tilted her head and raised a dubious brow. “The less you know, the better.”

Amelia crossed her arms and frowned, attempting to appear hurt— a tactic she’d been using since they were little girls. “You’re my dearest friend. I would never betray your trust.”

“I know.” On a loud sigh, she conceded, “I will answer three questions.”

With Elizabeth’s acquiescence, Amelia’s features brightened. “Thank you! Oh, I have to make sure I ask wisely.” She paced a couple of feet before edging closer to Elizabeth and whispered, “Have you ever killed anyone?

Elizabeth was already tired of this game, but since she agreed… “Yes”

“Yes?” The single word escaped Amelia’s mouth with a high-pitched squeak that startled a couple of gentlemen standing several feet away. She lowered her voice, peppering Elizabeth with questions. “Who? When? Are you carrying a weapon now?”

“You do realize that you just asked three questions?”

“It all falls under the first,” Amelia stated matter-of-factly.

“I’ll somewhat indulge you just this once. You needn’t worry about all the details. However, I will answer the latter. I always carry my pocket pistol. A lady must be prepared for danger. Next question.”

“Vague as always,” Amelia mumbled before continuing. “Have you ever donned a disguise?”

“Yes.” Knowing her friend all too well, Elizabeth included the answer to the question that was sure to follow. “I sometimes dress as a lad— it’s much easier to sneak around in breeches.”

A slight gasp escaped Amelia’s lips, but thankfully she did not probe further into that topic. “Since this is my last question, I have to make sure it’s one that I’ve always wondered about.” She squinted her eyes as if scanning her mind. “I have it! What is your most treasured possession?”

“The medallion my grandfather gave me.”

Amelia’s brows creased together. “That’s not what I was expecting. What medallion?”

Elizabeth clamped her mouth shut and turned away, knowing she’d just revealed too much. It was good thing that was Amelia’s last question. She really needed to guard her words more closely in the future.

“I know. It’s confidential.

“As I said earlier, the less you know, the better.”

Elizabeth noticed that they had attracted the attention of several curious lords and ladies. It was past time she ended this little interview and searched for Captain Alexander in the immense crush.

About the Series

What if your favorite superheroes had Regency-era doppelgängers? And what if a group of them were recruited by the Duke of Wellington to gather intelligence for him during the Napoleonic Wars while they protected their own parts of the realm?

You’d get The Heart of a Hero series.

Nine authors are bringing nine full-length novels to you this summer, each telling the story of a man or woman who is a hero in all senses of the word.

The Series on Amazon

HeroAbout the  Book

Alanna Lucas  contributes Only a Hero Will Do to the series.

Defender of the realm…and his wary heart…

Captain Grant Alexander is an enigma in London society. Dashing and handsome, he coldly eschews marriage. But the ton knows nothing of his role in the Legion: to bring Typhon, the traitor who seeks to destroy the British monarchy, to justice.

When Grant is thrown together with fellow Legion member Elizabeth Atwell, he’s instantly beguiled yet exasperated by this beautiful viscount’s daughter. She has little interest in combing the marriage mart for a well-bred, well-heeled husband, but is adept at code-breaking and handling a bow and arrow. She also refuses to do as she is told, insisting she accompany Grant on his mission.

As Typhon continues to evade capture and dark forces are at work, Grant realizes he must act, not only to protect the realm but Elizabeth too…not to mention his heart, which is in danger of thawing every time she comes close…

Can you guess which superhero inspired Alanna Lucas’s Regency-era doppelgänger?

Find it on Amazon

~Excerpt~

“Why in bloody hell are you wearing breeches?”

Elizabeth pulled her arm from his grip. “It is rather difficult and impractical to sneak about in a dress.”

“Where have you been?” The words came out harsher than intended. Did she have no concept of danger?

“I believe you know the answer to that question, Captain Alexander, and you’re welcome.”

“That was you at Hell’s? You fired the pistol?” His temper flared. “What were you thinking? You could’ve been hurt.”

Elizabeth replied sharply, “I fared better than you.” Ignoring his question, she stated, “You’re bleeding.”

“It’s nothing.”

“It’s not nothing? Come here.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the window.

The warmth of her hand sent a bolt of desire through him. Pale moonlight caressed her upturned face and full pink lips. He wondered if her lips tasted as sweet as they looked. What in God’s name was he thinking? Control yourself. You’re here to protect her, nothing more.

Pulling his hand away, he sucked in his breath as desire and anger collided. “I cannot believe you were traipsing all over London at this time of night as if you were taking a stroll in the park.”

“It wasn’t all over London, and I know how to fend for myself.”

“That’s beside the point.” He softened his tone. Every word he spoke was laced with concern. “Elizabeth, what were you doing at Hell’s Gaming House?”

“One of the letters I decoded mentioned the gaming house. I decided Fulcher might have some answers. Clearly I was not off the mark since you believed so as well.”

Rubbing the back of his neck, Grant tried to reason with her. “You can not go gallivanting all over the place. You’re the daughter of a viscount.”

“I know very well whose daughter I am. I don’t need you to remind me of it.” She took a step closer. The pleading tone in her voice went straight to his core. “Don’t you see? I don’t want to be just the daughter of a viscount. I want a life of my own choosing. I’m not some simpering miss.”

“No, you’re definitely not.” His gaze traveled over her face, settling on her brown eyes filled with intelligence and independence of spirit. A rapid thumping pounded against his chest. Time seemed to stand still, wrapping them in a blanket of moonlight.

“Grant,” she whispered his name as she brushed her fingers across his sore cheek.

About the Author

Alanna Lucas writes sweet, spicy, seductive historical romances. When not daydreaming of her next hero and bygone eras, Alanna can be found reading, spending time with family, or plotting her next travel destination. For more information about Alanna and her novels please visit her website- www.alannalucas.com

Twitter  Facebook   Pinterest   Amazon Author Page  Newsletter

 

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén