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Tag: Storm & Shelter

Serious Skulduggery at the Queen’s Barque

Our readers will be aware that, due to the recent storm and floods, a great variety of strangers have been trapped in Fenwick-on-Sea, especially at the Queen’s Barque Inn. Among the rife scandal and gossip, we now have reason to believe, greater skulduggery is afoot..

We recently reported on the startling physical similarity of one shipwrecked guest, Mrs. Simon, to the heiress Miss Letitia Lovell. We can now reveal that Mr. Kent, the heiress’s maternal uncle and guardian, has been seen in the neighborhood of the inn, along with his son, who, in the past, has claimed an “understanding” with his cousin, Miss Lovell.

Is this coincidence? Or are the Kents in pursuit of a runaway? Are the supposed Mr. and Mrs. Simon even married? Has the mysterious Mr. Simon, who was observed enjoying a pint of ale in the company of Mr. Kent, been, in vulgar parlance, “bought off” by the lady’s legal guardian? Is there a tug-of-war for the young lady’s safety and well-being? Or for her fortune?

All will surely be revealed in the coming days.

Those Bluestocking Belles are investigating our reporter!

Since your Teatime Tattler has been able to report doings in Fenwick on Sea, authors have offered a reward for someone who unmasks our reporter!

Enter to win.

Correctly identify the reporter and be entered to win a $100 gift card and other great prizes. There are details amd instructions for entering here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/storm-shelter/wanted-the-snooping-teatime-tattler-reporter/

About the Book

Eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas, one horrific storm!

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.

A Bluestocking Belles and Friends Collection

CLICK for links to various retailers

An Improbable Hero: Mary Lancaster

A runaway heiress, a mysterious stranger.

When Letty’s ship founders in a violent storm, she forges a rare bond with her rescuer.

Simon is a troubled man on a final, deadly mission—until the spirited yet soothing Letty makes him question everything. Hiding in plain sight among the refugees at The Queen’s Barque, Simon is more than capable of protecting them both. But when the floods recede, can either of them say goodbye?

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 scandal at every turn!

Miss Miranda de Courtenay sat in the morning room sipping tea in Highgrove Manor remembering the gentleman she had met at the Valentine’s Day Ball. He had been the stuff dreams were made of. His green eyes had held her spellbound when she had dared to dance with him… a waltz of all things. Her breath hitched with the memory of how she had wished to tame those blond locks back into place when the fell across his brow. And to be held in his arms while they made their way through the crowded dance floor… she had wished at the time that the music would never end!

When her sister Grace entered the room, one look upon her face told her much. Miranda was in trouble… again.

“You might as well just tell me what I did now and get it over with, Gracie,” Miranda said with a heavy sigh before pouring her sister a cup of tea. Grace slid a newsprint across the table. The blaring words of The Teatime Tattler blurred before her eyes. “Oh, no!”

“Oh, yes,” Grace answered before taking a sip of her tea as if this alone would make the latest gossip regarding her sister disappear. “Unfortunately, the article is on the second page most likely because the charity ball was held in Bath and most of Society was in attendance.” 

Miranda opened the newspaper to the second page and scanned the lettering for what would obviously condemn her once again. She began to read aloud.

Gentle Readers:

Only days after the Bath Valentine’s Day ball, this reporter learned of a most tantalizing bit of gossip for your reading pleasure! A certain young lady, Miss M.d.C., was in attendance and it’s been learned she has once more begun her search for a titled gentleman for a husband. Yet, despite the obvious rules amongst the Ton, this reporter learned she danced with a gentleman whom she hadn’t been introduced to. The music barely ended before her brother, the earl, had her escorted from the event. We’ll have to wait to see if Miss M.d.C. is allowed at other events in the Season or if she’ll be exiled to the country.

An Anonymous Reporter of
The Teatime Tattler

Miranda closed the newspaper not caring to read anything else that rag might have mentioned. “Well, I suppose it could have been worse,” she said looking across the table at her sister.

“Adrian will be furious,” Grace groaned.

“When is our brother not angry with me over some slight?” Miranda replied taking up her cup and saucer. 

“You need to learn to control these outrageous notions that continue to flit into your head that you think you can get away with, sister,” Grace fumed. “Society will be lenient for only so long before you’re completely ostracized. You’ll never find a husband if you can’t hold your head up within the ton.”

“I can barely move among them as it is now due to my past schemes,” Miranda said sadly. “Honestly, you’d think I was the only one who was prepared to do anything to catch a title.”

“But you tend to get caught, my dear. There’s a difference,” Grace answered reaching over to take Miranda’s hand. “I want you to find love, dearest sister. That is far more important than any title a man might have.”

“You don’t understand what it’s like to be the only one in this family without one,” Miranda huffed on the verge of tears.

“Maybe not but I do know a thing or two about being in love. Love will carry you through every heartache the world may throw at you. Don’t be a fool to only look at the title and not the man whom you wish to wed.”

Grace finished her tea and left Miranda to her thoughts. Marry for love? She scoffed at the idea. Love was for fools…


This is an original piece by Belle Sherry Ewing. Miss Miranda de Courtenay was previously seen in A Kiss For Charity and The Earl Takes A Wife. She will now get her happily ever after in Before I Found You that is in the Bluestocking Belles’ next box set Storm & Shelter.

Excerpt from Before I Found You: A de Courtenay Novella (Book Three):

She was not sure what to expect. Being outside alone with a man she did not know was a bold move. If she needed reinforcements, she could easily call out for help, but that would hardly do her reputation any good. It had barely recovered from her last scheme. Society’s memory was short, remembering scandals only until something new came along for them to gossip about—or until something happened to remind them. She couldn’t afford to give them new fodder to chew on.

She could not resist. Miranda took the remaining few steps until she stood next to him, and he rose to his full height, his hair tousled by the evening breeze. She suppressed the urge to push back the lock of hair across his brow that refused to stay in place. Oh my, but the man was tall!

Miranda did not even realize she offered him her hand until he leaned down and kissed the air between her knuckles. His fingers were warm even through the silk of her gloves. How would they feel if her hand was bare? Good heavens! What was coming over her?

Mademoiselle,” he whispered in a husky French accent, causing goose bumps to rise on her arms. His voice was utterly divine!

“Miranda,” she said offering only her first name. It was hardly appropriate, but she did not wish to see his disinterest when he learned she was a “Miss” and not a “Lady”.

Although it might not matter. Many gentlemen present this evening were on the lookout for a well-dowered heiress to enrich their estate. The man before her could be one of them. Even though she could not attach “lady” to her name, she was still wealthy in her own right… or would be when she finally wed.

Love had nothing to do with what really mattered in life—marriage to a husband within the nobility, one with enough wealth to keep her and her children in luxury. Not for her a boring life as a country matron, with nothing to do or to talk about beyond counting sheets and breeding children. She wanted a glittering life as a Society hostess! It would be an adventure. Or so she had always thought, and she would not allow her heart to rule her head.

She bit her bottom lip before she realized she had done so. The man before her could not know it was an automatic reaction when she was worried. She watched his brow arch in surprise before a grin turned up at the corner of his lips.

“Jasper,” he finally replied in return, examining her reaction to his touch. “The evening has become brighter now that you have joined me for a breath of fresh air. Look how the stars above beam in approval that they may gaze down upon you.”

Miranda’s lips twitched at the compliment. Very nice, though she sensed that he used this phrase often. She realized he still held her fingertips and she reluctantly pulled them away before waving her hand towards the crowd inside.

Storm & Shelter:
A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Special Preorder price of only $0.99

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.

Before I Found You Blurb:

Miss Miranda de Courtenay has only one goal in life: to find a rich husband who can change her status from Miss to My Lady. But when a handsome stranger crosses her path at a Valentine’s Day ball, her obsession with titles dims. Might love be enough?

Captain Jasper Rousseau has no plans to become infatuated during a chance encounter at a ball. He has a new ship to run, passengers to book, and cargo to deliver. But one look into a young lady’s beautiful hazel eyes, and he becomes lost. Does love at first sight really exist?

Their paths continue to cross until they are both stranded in Fenwick on Sea. Their growing connection is hard to dismiss, despite Miranda’s childish quest for a title at all cost. But what if the cost includes love?

Buy Links:

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Amazon AU |BR |CA |DE |ES |FR |IN |IT |JP |MX |NL |UK
Angus & Robertson

About Sherry Ewing:

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her books on her website where a new adventure awaits you on every page!

Website & Books: www.SherryEwing.com
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The Peculiar Coachman

Rumford, March 1815

Dunno if you can use this, Clemens, but here’s a bit from the tavern last night. It’s about Fred Newell’s peculiar nephew. Fred runs a first class coaching operation. Bit above hisself—don’t much mix down at the public house—but honest. Mostly keeps the good jobs for his boys, so no chance for a local but to muck out his stables. Th’ nephew come home from fighting Boney three years ago, limping and all, and boys at the pub figured him for a charity case. Next thing we know, he has the plum job driving one of the high-class carriages, and him with only part of a leg on the left.

But that isn’t what I have for you. The man comes to the tavern now’n again like I said. Between trips, like, and not often enough to be a regular exactly. Bit tight with his coin. I mean, he’s been known to buy a drink for a body now’n again, but no one has ever seen him buy a round for the whole place like his cousin Paul did when one of Newell’s horses won that race over near Doddinghurst. Ostlers from Fred’s say he don’t spend a penny he don’t have to. Saves it all, but for one thing—books! Have you ever known a coachman who bought so many books his little room over the stables is floor to ceiling three deep in books?

But that isn’t what I have for you. The man came to the tavern last evening, because he’s between trips. Harry Simmons, the keeper, likes him, so at least we know he pays his shot. Damned if the man didn’t start singing! Started out with a ballad and Marion the wench that serves most nights went into raptures about his voice. Moved on mostly soldiers stuff; he said he had passengers for morning that put him in mind of the war. But he got bawdier as the night went on, and none of the girls seemed to mind judging from the sighs.

So that’s it, Clemens. A singing coachman who lives with naught but books for company—is that peculiar enough for your paper? I grumbled to Harry that I wouldn’t want to ride out with a coachman who spent the night before in a tavern. Harry laughed and said then I probably don’t want to ride with the mail or post. Told me the damn fool was drinking straight cider anyway.

About the Story

Neither battle nor loss of his leg destroyed Zachery Newell. Working as a coachman, he tries to build a life in spite of his injuries while he plans for the sort of life he knew in childhood, happy and content above his father’s print shop, but when a woman races out of the storm and into the stable yard of The Queen’s Barque with a wagon full of small boys, puppies, and a bag of books, he is enchanted.

Dismissed by a charity school, Patience Abney struggles on her own to create a school that gives every boy a happy and productive life. Now the roof has caved in. Though she managed to get her boys to the safety of an inn, she has no idea how she will rebuild.

Zach knows Patience, the granddaughter of an earl, is far above the touch of shopkeeper’s son. He tries to keep his distance, but when the two of them make their way across the flooded marsh to her damaged school in search of a missing boy, attraction grows toward passion, complicating everything.

Excerpt

Before she could speak, he crossed the room and pulled her into a crushing embrace, taking her mouth with his until her knees failed and she had only his embrace to rely on.  Insanity born of hope. Zach could think of no other explanation for his behavior.

About the Book

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.

Release Date: April 13, 2021
Special Preorder price of $0.99
Buy Links:

Amazon US |  Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Amazon AU |BR |CA |DE |ES |FR |IN |IT |JP |MX |NL |UK

Angus & Robertson or Books2Read

About the Author

Bluestocking Belle, traveler, adventurer, writer of historical romance. Caroline Warfield is enamored of owls, books, history, and beautiful gardens (but not the actual act of gardening).

https://www.carolinewarfield.com/

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