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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:

One Diamond who seeks an Apothecary? Heavens, no!

Dear Readers, the Earl of Seahaven’s daughters seem determined to raise eyebrows wherever they go, especially the beautiful, but too independent, Lady Josefina Bigglesworth. She may be one of the Seahaven diamonds and certain to turn heads during her season in York, but is this not all the more reason she ought to be careful about running off on her own? Even an innocent daytime excursion to a local apothecary shop in The Shambles may be viewed as too forward.

She has also been seen lately having tea with none other than the Duke of Bourne, York’s most eligible bachelor, and it is said he could not take his eyes off her. Although the Dowager Countess of Seahaven is keeping quiet about it, several reliable sources present at the Castlegate Tea Room assure this Tattler the duke proposed to the lovely Josefina and she has accepted his offer of marriage.

The duke, that handsome devil, is taking Lady Josefina to his seaside estate outside of Whitby to meet his beloved sister. It is rumored she is ill and the doctors seem unable to cure her. Lady Josefina is known as quite the expert in curative plant medicines. Do her plant lore talents have anything to do with his desire to marry her? And will he marry her if she is unable to cure his sister? It would be a shocking scandal if he begged out, ruining the girl and her family. 

Desperate Daughters, Box Set, Bluestocking Belles and Friends

Desperate DaughtersBlurb:

Lady Josefina would much rather spend her time studying plants and their healing properties, but her father, the Earl of Seahaven, has died and left the family impoverished. Marriage seems her only alternative until she meets the handsome Duke of Bourne in an apothecary in York’s ancient Shambles. He offers her an intriguing proposition, a fake betrothal and a king’s ransom as reward if she returns with him to his estate and finds a cure for his sister’s illness. But will the true reward be his heart?

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?

About the Author, Meara Platt:

Meara Platt is an award winning, USA TODAY bestselling author and an Amazon UK All-Star. Her favorite place in all the world is England’s Lake District, which may not come as a surprise since many of her stories are set in that idyllic landscape, including her paranormal romance Dark Gardens series. Learn more about the Dark Gardens and Meara’s lighthearted and humorous Regency romances in her Farthingale series and Book of Love series, or her warmhearted Regency romances in her Braydens series by visiting her website at www.mearaplatt.com 

Shhh. The Trouble with Governesses!

Art Institute of Chicago.

English Drawing Room of the Georgian Period, 1800. Art Institute of Chicago.

London, 1815

One would think that finding and keeping a governess would not be a difficult thing, but apparently it is for Lord Preston Ambrose, Viscount Melcombe. He has had three in less than a year but is hopeful that the fourth will prove to be suitable for his household and settle in nicely to guide his nieces for the next few years.

The trouble with governesses started last spring when Lord Melcombe became the guardian of his five nieces, ages five to fourteen. They’d had a governess at the time, but she was sacked and we’ve yet to discover why.

Once the former governess had departed, Melcombe made no effort in finding a replacement, though he knew that he should. Then, one bright winter day, Miss Althea Claywell stepped off the mail coach. Melcombe was also aware that she was running and offered her the position within his household, which she gladly accepted.

All worked out well, until the two fell in love and married. Thus, Melcombe was in need of a governess again. This time he placed an advertisement, and was hopeful when the perfect candidate replied, a Miss Katrina Carrick. In fact, he and Lady Melcombe were quite pleased with the interview, and Miss Carrick was hired. But, before she could begin her duties, love arrived to claim her.

Lord Melcombe has now contacted an employment agency and is hopeful that the woman scheduled to arrive for an interview will be the fourth and final governess to be employed for some time. However, if that does not turn out to be the case, I might suggest that any miss wishing to wed become a governess in Viscount Melcombe’s home. No doubt, you will barely be unpacked before the love you have been waiting for finds you.  

LINKS FOR THE LOVE OF A GOVERNESS SERIES:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09R26VG3L/

RELEASE DATE OF PURSUING THE GOVERNESS: April 26, 2022

EXCERPT from PURSUING THE GOVERNESS:

Regina started at the pounding on her door and stepped away.

“Regina, open this door.”

All hope of Alec thinking she was someone else fled. Or, had Lord and Lady Melcombe broken their promise and confirmed her identity?

“Open the door, Regina,” he called again.

If she remained silent, perhaps he would think she was somewhere else and go away.

“The girls told me you are in here,” he said.

She still didn’t move or answer him. It wasn’t as if he could do anything if she refused to unlock her door.

There was a sudden thud against her door and then it splintered, flying open. Regina quickly turned her back on him.

“I know it is you, Regina,” he said. “I simply wish to know why you have let me believe you were dead for a year.”

She bit her lip, not certain what to say.

“Please,” he begged in a softer tone. “Why won’t you look at me?

Tears sprang to her eyes. He couldn’t see her.

“Why?” he asked.

“It is for the best,” she finally answered.

“Best!” he yelled. “I loved you. Was in love with you. Do you know I wanted to die when I learned what happened?”

“I am sorry,” she whispered. What more could she say?

“Sorry?” he asked. “That is all you have to say! I thought you loved me as much as I loved you.”

Oh, she did. She still did. Even though Regina Rutledge died, her love for Alec had not. But she needed him to go away. “What we had is over. Please go.”

“That’s it? You are rejecting me without an explanation? One day you’re across my lap you cry out my name, and now you want nothing to do with me.”

“Please lower your voice. The girls will hear you.” She didn’t care what he thought of her, but her charges did not need to hear such talk.

“I now understand how misses and ladies feel after they have been ruined and discarded.”

Pain and anger merged within his tone, but Regina held her tongue. It was best for both of them if he hated her.

“At least face me while rejecting me after everything we shared.”

“I cannot. It’s best that you go.”

“Cannot, or will not?”

“Both.”

“If you want me to go, then you need to turn around and tell me. Swear that what we shared meant nothing to you.”

Regina had been dreading this moment, and hoped the day would never come, but Alec was going to be stubborn.

She took a deep breath and slowly turned around.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Charles, AuthorUSA Today bestselling author Jane Charles is a prolific writer of over fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. Her love of research lends authenticity to her Regency romances, and her experience directing theatre productions helps her craft beautiful, touching stories that tug at the heartstrings. Jane is an upbeat and positive author dedicated to giving her characters happy-ever-afters and leaving the readers satisfied at the end of an emotional journey. Lifelong Cubs fan, world traveler and mother of three amazing children, Jane lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She is currently writing her next book and planning her dream trip to England. Be sure to join Jane on Facebook @JaneCharlesAuthor for Wine Pairings Wednesdays.

FOLLOW JANE:

Website:  https://www.janecharlesauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaneCharlesAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4879172.Jane_Charles

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jane-charles

Jane’s Reader Group – Romance & Rosé: https://www.facebook.com/groups/778180209460172

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